The England Under-21 door remains open to Callum Hudson-Odoi according to Ashley Cole, although the assistant coach subtly swerved a question over whether he has spoken to the Chelsea wide man at Cobham about representing the underage national side.
Cole, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s friendly away to Georgia, said Hudson-Odoi’s absence is a “big loss” to Lee Carsley’s team.
But Hudson-Odoi has turned down call-ups since Carsley took the job in September, citing a desire to work on his fitness and earn more regular opportunities under Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea. That has paid dividends of late with four straight starts before this international break but England senior manager Gareth Southgate said that his decision to turn down a place for the feeder team has denied himself an opportunity to impress and stake a claim for next year’s World Cup.
He also remains eligible for Ghana and speculation over a switch of allegiance grows louder the longer he remains out of the England picture.
Hudson-Odoi, who has made three senior England appearances, believes that he desrves to be in Southgate’s squad and is determined to be in Qatar. With the depth at England’s disposal, a place in the 23-man squad is hard to imagine without him impressing for his club and that means Ghana remain hopeful of a switch.
“Him not coming here is a big loss for us because he is a top quality player and of course he would add a lot of quality to this group,” Cole said. “He felt maybe he wanted to stay behind and get his fitness up to try to get into the Chelsea team first. We have to be understanding within that. The door is always open for young quality players.”
Cole believes that seeing Emile Smith Rowe and Conor Gallagher promoted to Gareth Southgate’s senior team this week should provide Hudson-Odoi with plenty of motivation going forward. Both were initially named in the Under-21 squad for this week’s games but were moved up a grade due to withdrawals.
He added: “I feel maybe him seeing Emile or Conor getting the opportunity hopefully now he will change his mind and come and join us. The pathway is there and Gareth has given players a lot of opportunities now. Hopefully he can get his opportunity. But as a group we for sure would miss top quality players because he would add to our squad for sure.”
Cole is travelling along his own pathway, admitting that he has designs on becoming a head coach in the future. And seeing the brutal manner in which former team-mate Frank Lampard was sacked by Chelsea at the beginning of the year has not dissuaded him.
It would be easy for him to have done a bit of punditry and live the easy life when he stopped playing in 2019 but the 40-year-old felt like he “needs to give back” and develop the next generation.
“I’ve lived and breathed football from probably the age of seven and I don’t think going into coaching or management should scare anyone,” he said. “If you think you are good enough and prepared enough and opportunities arrive – I never feel there is a right time to manage a top club or a lower league club – as long as you get the opportunities and believe and have faith in the qualities you bring, I think you have to go for it.
“You know there will be doubts within a lot of people’s minds, young coaches getting into the game now because it is ruthless. You’ve got to have faith and belief in what you are preaching and the philosophy and style in what you want to portray as a group and a club and I don’t feel scared to go into that. I am raring to go and waiting for my opportunity, but just making sure I’m ready to go into it. There is always that saying – what will be will be.”
Source by Football London