CALLUM HUDSON-ODOI: TUCHEL'S BIG GAMBLE PAYS OFF AS THE ENGLAND YOUNGSTER THRIVES
Thomas Tuchel arrived at Chelsea just over three weeks ago and has had a huge impact on the blues, turning their season around by guiding them from tenth all the way to fourth.
Having made a lot of adjustments to the squad, which so far have been extremely successful, one of the most notable changes is the way he has shifted Callum Hudson-Odoi into a wing-back role.
Despite previously never playing in this position, Tuchel decided right from the offset that was where Hudson-Odoi would feature.
It is not a thought that would come into many people's minds, but it really seems to be benefiting the young English player who has acclimatised well.
The 20-year-old has arguably been one of the top performers so far in the Tuchel era.
He has largely impressed, and although he struggled to secure a first-team spot under previous manager, Frank Lampard, he is now one of the first names on the team sheet.
There is of course tough competition for this position, with fellow young talent Reece James also performing to a very high level at the moment.
The formation Chelsea line-up in would suggest that Hudson-Odoi plays in a relatively deep role, but during a game he constantly is bombing forward and looking to help the attack.
In the two opening games for Tuchel, against Wolves and Burnley, he claimed both Man of The Match awards highlighting his quality performances.
Testing players in different positions is not something new for the German manager, previously during his time at Borussia Dortmund he transformed the way Raphael Guerreiro played, moving him from left-back to a central midfielders' role.
He also altered Marquinhos’ positioning whilst he was at Paris-Saint Germain, converting him into defensive midfielder rather than being the man at the heart of the defence.
Hudson-Odoi has always showed signs of excellent ability at Chelsea, but has struggled for consistency, so this is a big opportunity for him to prove himself, and currently he is grasping it with both hands.
Appearing in every game under the new Manager, it does not look likely that he will be in danger of dropping out of the squad anytime soon.
Obviously, there were a lot of huge signings made for Chelsea over the most recent Summer transfer window, but with some of the big additions not performing to the top of their game, it has still left room for the young players to have a chance.
This was one of the real worries of the transfer ban being lifted, as many fans felt as though it could result in the youth being abandoned, however Lampard kept faith in them and Tuchel is doing much the same.
From this point onwards it is going to be very interesting to see if a player with the calibre of Hudson-Odoi can keep playing at such a high level and be a vital aspect of what could be a very successful team.
We all know that he can offer a lot going forward, he creates chances for his teammates and has scored some good goals for the blues, but what about his defensive ability.
This looks to be something that Tuchel has unlocked that no one really knew about, against Wolves he tracked back and made an excellent tackle to prevent a huge chance for Wolves.
The defensive side of his game may still need a lot of development, but that is what we would expect considering he is having to adjust to this new position.
So far there can be absolutely no complaints of Hudson-Odoi as he is looking a dynamic attacking threat and offering a lot going forward.
The role suits him, and it will be interesting to see if Tuchel does make this formation the default for Chelsea, and if he did change it what that would mean for the young star.
During his time at Stamford Bridge, he has had some injury trouble, with the awful injury to his anterior cruciate ligament leaving him out for a long time.
He evidently has the talent though and if he can stay fit, the future looks bright for Callum Hudson-Odoi.