Callum Hudson-Odoi showed maturity and composure when addressing the issue of the racial abuse he received on Monday evening, suggesting that the precocious talent has the temperament and maturity to go all the way to the very top.
The Chelsea winger was handed his first start for England despite never starting a Premier League game for the Blues and impressed in a front three as the Three Lions ran riot in Podgorica. It was certainly a baptism of fire for the teenager, who more than held his own against Montenegro, however, it was his response to racist chanting from the home crowd which marks out Hudson-Odoi.
Speaking to beIN SPORTS after the game, Hudson-Odoi showed poise and understanding well beyond his eighteen years when talking about the disgraceful abuse he received along with England defender Danny Rose.
“Discrimination should not be anywhere, we are equal we have to play a fair game and enjoy the moment. When you hear that from the fans, it’s not right it’s unacceptable and hopefully UEFA deal with it properly.”
Hudson-Odoi may not be getting regular game-time at Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri, but Gareth Southgate has shown faith in the Wandsworth born attacker, calling him up from the U-21 set up just prior to the Czech Republic game. Talking about the incident, Hudson-Odoi spoke about keeping his own composure in front of such racism and called on UEFA to take a firm stance.
“When I went over there me and Rosie heard it, they were saying monkey stuff, so its stuff where we have to keep our heads, keep a strong mentality and hopefully Rosie is okay as well if anything we can chat and discuss what happened, but he has a strong mentality he is a strong guy and hopefully everything will be good. Hopefully, UEFA will deal with it.”
Whilst Chelsea fans are increasingly frustrated at the lack of first team football for the winger, his diligent response to how he felt about the racism underlines that he has a composure and maturity to calmly focus on the win, and how he continued to play. Such poise for a young man is often only exhibited by the very best in the game, suggesting a bright future for the eighteen-year-old.
“It’s not right at all, I was enjoying the game as well and to hear stuff like that never right, but as I said you have to have a strong mentality and we are still delighted with the win we just take the win and go home.”
Hudson-Odoi also praised the impact of Raheem Sterling, who also took to social media to have his say on the game. With the teenager revealing that the Manchester City star & Danny Rose has spoken to him about how to tune out the abuse and focus on the game.
“Raheem has always helped no matter what, he’s been talking to me about it trying to say to me listen, don’t worry about it, it’s football people do it obliviously it’s not right in the game but you have to stay strong.”
“I have spoken to him and Rosie about it and they were like, listen in football you are always going to get stuff like that, people are always going to be rude to you or say stuff to you that you don’t want to hear and its part of football so sometimes you have to block it out of your head and keep going with the game.”
It’s a testament to the man that Hudson-Odoi is for talking out against racism at such a young age, and the teenager called out the home fans for their vile abuse.
“At the same time, that should never happen in football everyone should be enjoying the game and like I said it’s unacceptable.”
Having taken his first England game in his stride, the stage is set for Hudson-Odoi to continue his rise through the game. Responding to racism with such a steadfast and firm response highlights characteristics that rightly mark him out as one of the brightest talents in England today.
Hudson-Odoi has yet to pen a new deal with Chelsea and could be a free agent in the summer with Bayern Munich reportedly interested in his signature. After such a commanding performance, don’t be surprised if a few more elite European sides will be vying for his services.