Callum Hudson-Odoi has had to bide his time at Chelsea after tough love from Thomas Tuchel but is finally flourishing... and his chemistry with Hakim Ziyech could help bring the best out of the ex-Ajax man

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Life at Stamford Bridge looked to be coming an end for Callum Hudson-Odoi this summer but almost three months on from deadline day he is finally lighting it up for Chelsea.

The 20-year-old came close to leaving Chelsea this summer until Thomas Tuchel blocked a potential move - a decision the boss hasn't come to regret. 

Hudson-Odoi was open to a loan spell at Borussia Dortmund, given that he would likely feature in the Champions League for the Bundesliga side, but has instead been flourishing for the Blues.

Callum Hudson-Odoi was open to leaving Chelsea this summer but has stayed to flourish

Callum Hudson-Odoi was open to leaving Chelsea this summer but has stayed to flourish

Callum Hudson-Odoi was open to leaving Chelsea this summer but has stayed to flourish

The 20-year-old has been lighting it up with his first goal of the season against Norwich

The 20-year-old has been lighting it up with his first goal of the season against Norwich

The Chelsea boss decided not to give the green light to a loan move, holding on to Hudson-Odoi with the Champions League and League Cup fixture list expected to stretch even the deepest squad. 

The England Under-21 saw the move as a bid for more playing time after growing frustrated over his lack of appearances under Tuchel. 

He started a mere 19 games across all competitions last season, including Chelsea's Champions League campaign that saw them crowned champions. 

And, despite starting in the UEFA Super Cup final win against Real Villareal in August, he didn't feature for the Blues in their first three league games and has only started five games in all competitions this term.  

Borussia Dortmund were keen to bring the Chelsea winger in on loan before deadline day

Borussia Dortmund were keen to bring the Chelsea winger in on loan before deadline day

Hudson-Odoi was involved in Chelsea's Super Cup final win against Real Villareal in August

Hudson-Odoi was involved in Chelsea's Super Cup final win against Real Villareal in August

The German manager recently admitted he had been unfair on the 20-year-old - having played him as a wing-back but insisted that there is room in the squad for him. 

'Was it always fair to play him as a right wing-back? No, maybe not,' Tuchel admitted.

'But he had to take this for the team and he did – and was always positive and showed the right spirit.

'He had a very good pre-season when we saw what he could do on the half-left side. He struggled a bit, in the beginning, to prove that during matches but now we've had some injuries, it was needed that he shows up and delivers. This is what he did.

'Like we always say, to get a place in this team, it's all about performance and this is what Callum shows at the moment. It's important he shows consistency, stays hungry, and keeps on going and progressing. '

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel (left) recently admitted he had been unfair on the player

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel (left) recently admitted he had been unfair on the player

'At the same time, he has to be aware of what he has do to stay in the team. And it looks good in this moment.'

And Hudson-Odoi has gone on to grab his place in the team, seizing the opportunity served up by Chelsea's injury woes. 

With Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic all injured, Hudson-Odoi has started the last three games and has flourished.   

He was key to Chelsea's victory in the Champions League on Tuesday night as they squeezed past Malmo. 

Romelu Lukaku was forced off early during their first group-stage game against Malmo

Romelu Lukaku was forced off early during their first group-stage game against Malmo

Chelsea face a striker shortage with Timo Werner also expected to be sidelined for some time

Hudson-Odoi provided a sublime low cross from a one-two with Kai Havertz for Hakim Ziyech to net the only goal of the game.

He had already looked to be thriving on the left wing, taking the byline by storm and wiggling out of tight spaces. 

But he was fully unleashed in the second-half when Tuchel made the tactical call to swap Hudson-Odoi and Ziyech. The duo looked more confident in their switched roles and they swiftly broke down a stubborn Malmo side with the goal coming 11 minutes after the change. 

The chemistry between the attacking wingers created a sense that they were developing a partnership and understanding that could prove to be beneficial to both Tuchel and themselves - with both players looking to cement their spot in the team. 

The Englishman's cross to link up with Ziyech provided the chance to find the net for the first time in almost three months for the ex-Ajax man, who has been urged to 'be more consistent and clinical' by Tuchel.

Hakim Ziyech finished off the move of the match to secure the winner against Malmo

Hakim Ziyech finished off the move of the match to secure the winner against Malmo

Ziyech celebrates with Hudson-Odoi, who gave him the finish on a plate from the right-side

Ziyech celebrates with Hudson-Odoi, who gave him the finish on a plate from the right-side

The 20-year-old's assist, coupled with his overall performance, caught the attention of both the fans and the pundits.

Following the game, Rio Ferdinand suggested that Hudson-Odoi was living up to the hype that first surrounded him as he made his way through the Chelsea ranks.

The former Manchester United defender said that Hudson-Odoi had finally 'lived up to expectations' and that he provided the performance 'they had all been waiting for'.

Despite Tuchel's defence that Hudson-Odoi had to take one for the team, after the last three displays on the wing it is resoundingly clear that the boss cannot play him at right wing-back if he hopes to get the 20-year-old at his electrifying best. 

Hudson-Odoi also impressed during Chelsea's 7-0 mauling of Norwich last month. 

He joined Mason Mount and co on the scoresheet with his first goal of the season and Chelsea's second of the game. 

Following, his impressive starting display Hudson-Odoi appears to have won the boss over with Tuchel's tough love approach paying off.

'We're glad that he stayed. We didn't let him leave,' said Tuchel ahead of Chelsea's Champions League clash on Tuesday.

Hudson-Odoi scored Chelsea's second during their 7-0 mauling of Norwich last month

Hudson-Odoi scored Chelsea's second during their 7-0 mauling of Norwich last month

The winger is congratulated by team-mate Ben Chilwell (right) after opening his goal account

The winger is congratulated by team-mate Ben Chilwell (right) after opening his goal account 

'We built the squad and Callum was a piece of the puzzle. He thought it might be tough to get minutes and that it might be easier at another club. But you can never be sure that it's like this.

'I told him straight when he asked that it was not possible. We rely on him and we rely on him to accept his role. There is still huge progress he can make within this group and club.'

Hudson-Odoi has had to bide his time, face the concerns of him failing to live up to the hype and play out of his favoured position but Tuchel seems to finally be getting the best out of the winger. 

He now needs to turn his attention to the future and focus on continuing his flourishing run before Lukaku and Werner return or risk it coming to a screeching halt. 

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