Tuchel Previews Liverpool
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Thomas Tuchel has revealed that Callum Hudson-Odoi’s snub to the England under-21s comes against Chelsea’s wishes and has warned the 20-year-old striker he will have to “deal with the consequences”.
The Chelsea player told new under-21s coach Lee Carsley he wanted to be excused from the double-header against Romania and Kosovo so he could focus on his club career.
“I’ve had some really good conversations with him and his advisor and Callum felt that it wasn’t the right time for him at the minute to come with England,” Carsley said.
“He’s stayed back at Chelsea to work on his development there. I respected that decision and that was it really.”
However, Tuchel not only distanced himself from any part in the decision, he also hinted that his refusal potentially to get some competitive minutes under his belt could cost him in the battle for first-team opportunities at Chelsea.
“It’s his personal decision and nothing to do with my opinion or the club’s,” Tuchel said.
“If I speculate a little bit, I think it’s about disappointment that he is not nominated for the first team [with England].
“But at the same time maybe did not have enough minutes to be nominated for the first team.
“Personally, I could see the upgrade in having some minutes and being in a leading role for the Under-21s but he decided differently so he will deal with the consequences.”
Hudson-Odoi has not featured for a single minute of Premier League action so far this season and the arrival of Romelu Lukaku has done nothing to improve his chances of securing regular action in his favoured position as the main striker.
Instead, Tuchel is clearly entertaining the idea of sending him on loan for the season.
“It’s hard to argue with that, it’s hard to argue,” he said. “At the same time, there’s always room for improvement here in training and within this club.
“But it’s hard to argue with this opinion that he needs regular game time to improve his personal level. At the same time, it’s not only about letting players go.
“I have the feeling that Callum decided to fight for his place here. He had a very, very good pre-season.
“He fights for offensive positions and, of course, if you do the mathematics you end up with a lot of guys for the three offensive positions.
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“So it’s a huge challenge for him, but the door is always open to sneak through and to make your way, and it can happen at any time for offensive players. At the moment, there is no loan.”
Hudson-Odoi is likely to be on the bench as usual for the trip to Liverpool that is the first of a number of “title deciders” that could dictate the outcome of the Premier League season.
That, though, according to Tuchel, is just a fact of life.
“We don’t have to feel sorry for him,” he said uncompromisingly. “Once the door is a little bit open, we demand he puts his foot between and makes his mark.
“This can happen any time and last season when we put him on for 20 minutes in Man City game and he was a real game changer.
“Next time we do this, he needs to be ready. This is what we demand from him.”
Probable Chelsea team vs Liverpool (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount, Havertz; Lukaku.
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