CALLUM HUDSON-ODOI revealed he has had to overcome his fear of tearing his Achilles tendon for a second time as he tries to battle back to his best.
The 19-year-old ended a four-month scoring drought by drilling Chelsea into an early lead during Sunday’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest.
Although Hudson-Odoi was left clutching his repaired right Achilles after going down towards half-time, it proved a false alarm and he played a starring role for the rest of the tie. ‘Obviously there are still times where I think to myself “if I get kicked on it like today, what could happen”, and there are times where I think to myself “if I do a certain movement it will go again”,’ said the Blues academy graduate.
‘But now as days at training go by, I think if you’re confident and do your strengthening work in the gym, it will still be strong and nothing should happen to it again.
‘I have been doing work every day with the conditioning coaches to ensure it’s strong enough. I think I’m close to the point I was before. The player trod on my Achilles which was a bit painful but everything is alright.’
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard hailed the young forward’s performance as a ‘nice step forward’, with Ross Barkley scoring the hosts’ second goal.
Hudson-Odoi, who last year marked his breakthrough campaign with a senior England debut before suffering the Achilles injury in April, admitted his 20 games without a goal this season had been frustrating. ‘I have been a bit agitated, thinking to myself that I have had chances and I need to convert more of them, be more clinical in front of goal,’ he added.
‘So in this game I thought to myself “hit it low and hard”. Recently I have been thinking “be patient, the goal will come if you be yourself, be calm”.
‘I’m happy I got the goal and I’m looking to build on it. It is not just about the goal, it is about helping the team, working hard, keeping the ball, and overall I am happy with how everything went.’