Callum Hudson-Odoi will start Chelsea’s Carabao Cup clash against Barnsley with Frank Lampard’s challenge to “flourish again” ringing in his ears.
Blues boss Lampard has confirmed that England wing Hudson-Odoi will make just his second start since February 1 in Wednesday night’s League Cup clash at Stamford Bridge.
The 19-year-old has shot to prominence with both Chelsea and England since making his Blues debut in 2017, but a torn Achilles in March 2019 dented his progress.
Hudson-Odoi has long since shaken off that issue but continues to battle for regular football, with manager Lampard now accepting it “remains to be seen” whether he could be loaned out before the October transfer window.
“We know in a Premier League squad and the number of games we’re going to play, we need competition in those areas, back-ups in those areas and players competing to make that position their own,” said Lampard.
“That’s where Callum is at and that’s why I keep saying he needs to train, he needs to show in training every day and when he gets his opportunity in games, which he will have tomorrow because he will play against Barnsley.
“At the moment we have Christian Pulisic injured, Hakim Ziyech injured. We played Timo Werner out wide against Liverpool.
“But the absolute natural winger who is fit at the minute is Callum.
“He has to show in every minute, on and off the ball, what he can do for the team and that’s the position Callum is in at the minute.
“He’s had an early breakthrough in his career because of his talent, he’s had an injury and now I want to see him flourish again.”
Chelsea paid for Barnsley’s Covid-19 tests ahead Wednesday’s clash in west London, with Blues bosses not anticipating any issues with the fixture.
Bayern Munich have failed in the past with a concerted effort to prise Hudson-Odoi away from Chelsea, and the Bavarians are rumoured to retain their interest in one of England’s top young talents.
Centre-back Toni Rudiger was omitted from Chelsea’s squad for Sunday’s 2-0 league loss to Liverpool, with the Blues yet to arrange any outgoings after their barrage of new arrivals this summer.
Asked if Rudiger or Hudson-Odoi could leave – even on loan – in this transfer window, Lampard said: “I’m going to skirt around that question; it remains to be seen.
“We’re not in a period where the transfer window or market is acting like it has done in recent years in terms of how players move or what level they move at.
“Again, the competitive games have just started. I’m very open to those conversations with the players as the next couple of weeks go on.
“My priority will always be making sure I maintain and keep the strongest squad I can for this club but after that of course, the individual conversations will happen within that.
“I will try and make sure I go into the season – once the window shuts – with the squad that I feel is healthy and competitive in a healthy way.”
On trimming the Chelsea squad, Lampard added: “There are decisions for me to take, for the club to make and for the players themselves to make.
“That’s the situation now. Those are very much conversations I will have going forward. It doesn’t mean that we’re forced in any one of those positions or areas to move players on.”