Callum Hudson-Odoi has opened up on his positional change at Chelsea with new manager Thomas Tuchel having utilised the youngster in an unfamiliar wing-back role.
Chelsea have made a positive start under the new manager and are unbeaten in five league fixtures, victory over Newcastle on Monday night lifting the west London side back into the top four and Champions League places.
Tuchel’s side have conceded just once across those five fixtures – and even that was an own goal – with a change to a back three formation having brought a greater solidity to the Blues, a system which has seen academy graduate Hudson-Odoi utilised in an unfamiliar wing-back role.
The 20-year-old came through the club’s ranks as a winger and has played as a forward on occasion, and has discussed how he has adapted to the greater defensive responsibility of playing at wing-back.
Hudson-Odoi admits he is relishing the challenge of learning a new role and says he is determined to continue improving following a series of encouraging performances in recent weeks.
“It was obviously a different role for me and something new I hadn’t experienced before but I saw it as a challenge,” Hudson-Odoi told Chelsea’s official website.
“It’s something that I know I’m capable of doing. If it’s offensively, I can use my abilities to do that going forward, but defensively as well now I’ve got to be more aware because I’m not playing as a winger.
No Chelsea player made more tackles (3) or more interceptions (2) than Callum Hudson-Odoi in the first half against Newcastle.
Getting to grips with his new role. pic.twitter.com/K9C2f5X7lP
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 15, 2021
“I’m playing wing-back so I have to get back much more. It has definitely been a good experience for me to learn a new position as well under the manager and it’s going well for me. I actually enjoy playing there – it’s not a bad thing for me. I really enjoy it so hopefully I can keep improving and hopefully keep doing well there.
“It had never really crossed my mind before. Whenever I’ve played in teams with five at the back, I’ve always played as one of the number 10s, in a winger position or behind the striker. I’ve never played wing-back or thought about playing there so getting told I was going to play there was certainly something new to me but the manager helped me really well.”
The England international discussed the advice that Tuchel has given him on the defensive role, and says he has watched clips alongside the German as he bids to enhance his understanding of the position.
“He was explaining stuff, how to play that position, the things to do going forward and coming back, which was really helpful for me to get ready for the game,” he said.
“I watched some clips with him as well before the game to understand the positioning a bit so it helped me a lot and it was good to play there.”