Friday 24 January 2020

Hudson-Odoi hailed by Lampard

Chelsea 2 Nottingham Forest 0


Frank Lampard hailed Callum Hudson-Odoi for taking a "step forward" with his match-winning turn against Nottingham Forest. 

Hudson-Odoi drilled Chelsea's opener and had a hand in Ross Barkley's tap-in as the Blues eased past Forest and into the FA Cup fourth round.

The 19-year-old endured a turbulent 2019 that included his England debut, being heavily courted by Bayern Munich, and a torn Achilles tendon.

The Chelsea forward ended an 18-match goalless streak with the opener against Forest as he searches for top form, though, leaving Blues head coach Lampard pleased with his showing.

"It's a good performance, I was pleased to see him high up the pitch and aggressive in how he wants to get at people," Lampard said.

"He came back very early from a terrible injury, and there were still issues for some time with him getting absolutely tip-top from that. So this was a nice step forward for him. The next challenge will be next time we play, can he do that again?"

Asked how long it takes a player to get back to their best after a serious injury, Lampard added: "It depends on the player and the injury. With Callum, when you're a player of speed and sharpness, that's one of your main weapons, with an injury that severe that is slightly held back at first.

"He's done a lot of strength work on that. So now he's getting close to where he needs to be."

Lampard used the FA Cup clash as a chance to hand game-time to a host of fringe players, though precious few shone brightly. Olivier Giroud remained an unused substitute as Michy Batshuayi enjoyed a rare start, with Tammy Abraham rested.

The France hitman is a rumoured January target for both Aston Villa and Newcastle, and Lampard said Giroud could leave this month - but only in the right circumstances.

Lampard said: "If the conditions are that it's something he really wants to do and it works for the club, for me and the squad then it's something that could happen."

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