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Hudson-Odoi showing signs of why Chelsea and Bayern Munich went to war for winger

14:00 GMT+3 06/01/2020
Callum Hudson-Odoi
The two super clubs did battle over the Blues' academy star 12 months ago, and he is now on an upward trajectory again after a serious injury

Callum Hudson-Odoi has endured an inconsistent time since his return from a long-term injury, but he delivered a glimpse of his wonderkid promise against Nottingham Forest on the first anniversary of Chelsea almost losing the winger to Bayern Munich.

The 19-year-old was the subject of several offers of up to £35 million ($46m) from Bayern 12 months ago at a time when Hudson-Odoi appeared reluctant to commit his future to Chelsea.

However, Maurizio Sarri’s exit and the arrival of Frank Lampard as manager helped to end the contract impasse, and that process was also aided by a large financial package which could see Hudson-Odoi earn £180,000 a week, if performance-related add-ons are met.

Hudson-Odoi might have hit some of those financial incentives against Forest in the FA Cup third round on Sunday as he opened the scoring and supplied the assist for the second goal in a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

It was the England international’s first goal since late September when he netted against Grimsby Town in the Carabao Cup on his first appearance since suffering a serious Achilles injury against Burnley in April.

During the period between his two goals this season, Hudson-Odoi has struggled to force his way into Lampard’s starting line-up on a regular basis, but his performance against Forest offered positive signs for the future.

His sixth-minute opener was a brilliant effort and he dazzled with his wing play when setting up Ross Barkley for the second goal, while he was close to providing a couple more assists later in the game.

He caused constant problems for Yuri Ribeiro, and the Forest left-back was impressed by what Hudson-Odoi had to offer against the Championship side’s second-string team.

"Yes, he is a good talent. I know him because I watch all the Premier League games," the Benfica-trained Ribeiro told Goal after the match. "In Portugal, we have a lot of players who play in the style of Hudson-Odoi. In the past years, I faced players like him and it is good to test myself against him.

"He is not yet one of the best players in the world, just because he is young, but in the future he will be great."

Hudson-Odoi was also caught on his Achilles during the game and there was relief inside the stadium when the teenager got up to continue.

His injury late last season came when he was in flying form, having recently made his England debut, and it has taken him time to rediscover that same sharpness.

"It’s been an interesting 12 months for him considering how young he is, when you take that into account. Last year everyone was talking about him for different reasons. He gets a terrible injury, he comes back very early and when he did come back there were issues getting him tip-top," Lampard said at Stamford Bridge.

“Then he is in the spotlight because of who he is and the new contract. It was a nice step forward for him. Next time it will be ‘can you do more? Can you do this? Can you do that?’"

Lampard has shown both tough love while also putting an arm around Hudson-Odoi's shoulder to help him through the injury period, while his assistants, Jody Morris and Joe Edwards, know him even better from coaching him at youth level.

"Not only is he young but he hasn't gone through any tough spells in his life at the moment," Morris had said before kick-off. "I can't remember when he has had a serious injury like he has had before. Everything has been plain sailing throughout the academy.

"He was one of the best players in the building for a long time. He did okay last year when he came in, albeit not in the kind of bigger games but, remember his age, the fact he hasn't played regular first-team football and the seriousness of the injury.

"I think those are things you do have to take into account; you need to give the kid time. Can he do better? Yes. He knows he can do better."

In truth, it has taken Hudson-Odoi time to get back to his best, and it has led to some sections of the social media fanbase calling him out as being "overpriced" and "overhyped".

But after ending a 19-game goal drought, he now has something to build on as he bids to show that the tug-of-war between two of Europe's top clubs for his signature was a valid battle for a genuine talent.

The cost of keeping Hudson-Odoi was high for Chelsea but they are banking on one of England's most promising youngsters and, though it has taken time, he showed in the FA Cup that his best is yet to come.