Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi is on loan at Bayer Leverkusen

For Callum Hudson-Odoi, his mortgage spell at Bayer Leverkusen has at all times been about taking part in soccer and he is aware of that is how his time within the Bundesliga will likely be judged. However there are extra minutes within the day than minutes on the pitch.

It’s the story of a person dwelling overseas for the primary time, a person leaving his nation for the primary time. “The primary time I left London, I found one other nation, one other tradition, one other surroundings,” says Hudson-Odoi. sky sports activities.

“Once you come right here it is all of the extra as a result of you do not know the nation, the town. I am in London on daily basis so I do know London. I do know the place to go for dinner, I do know the place to go to calm down and calm down and I do know the place to go to the cinema.

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Callum Hudson-Odoi on the variations between the Premier League and the Bundesliga

“It is like you need to be extra liable for your self since you’re right here mainly by yourself, having come from the UK to work and practice on daily basis. I believe that is a superb factor and a lesson for me to grasp issues elsewhere.

He lives in Cologne and tries to grasp every little thing. “The opposite day I used to be strolling round and noticed the lock bridge.” Greater than 40,000 padlocks enhance the town’s Hohenzollern Bridge, so-called love padlocks positioned there by {couples} symbolically immortalizing their relationship.

“I assumed, ‘That is one thing new, I have not seen this in London.’ Simply completely different sights to see, completely different locations to eat and stuff, see completely different folks, see completely different locations.”

His keep in Germany is anticipated to be extra short-term, locked down solely till the top of this season. The possibilities at Chelsea had been restricted. Omitted from the squad for the primary Premier League sport of the season, he felt compelled to hunt a chance elsewhere.

“It was good for me to exit and have enjoyable and get again to taking part in soccer as a lot as attainable,” says Hudson-Odoi.

“What everybody was telling me concerning the challenge sounded good. A unique place, a distinct nation.”

He felt needed.

“It is a very pleasant, very nice membership. The workers, all of the gamers, everybody across the place. They welcome you, they just be sure you are snug as quickly as you arrive. That is what what they’ve accomplished with me because the first day I got here right here.”

But it surely wasn’t that straightforward. A poor begin to the season by which Leverkusen gained simply one in all their first eight Bundesliga video games left the third-placed facet from final season within the relegation zone and led to the departure of the coach- Chef Gerardo Seoane.

Hudson-Odoi, now 22, needed to adapt to a brand new means of taking part in – a brand new means of coaching, even. “Coaching right here is far more tough so I am going dwelling and take an enormous nap, an enormous sleep at dwelling to get well and relaxation,” he laughs. The video games are additionally completely different.

“One second you possibly can defend after which unexpectedly you are on purpose. It is so fast. It is extra a means of counter-attacking in comparison with England, the place it is extra defensive and on compactness and play. to the purpose.

“Right here it is so fast from begin to end. It is mainly good for fast gamers as a result of when you’re fast there’s at all times an opportunity to move and be one-on-one, help a purpose or no matter. There’s at all times that top line with the house to run in. That is the distinction.

Leverkusen's Callum Hudson-Odoi reacts after scoring a goal which was disallowed during a Champions League Group B soccer match between FC Porto and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Dragao Stadium in Porto, Portugal on Tuesday, October 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Luis Viera)
Callum Hudson-Odoi enjoys Bayer Leverkusen’s Bundesliga problem

Do not you miss these deep defenses he confronted at Chelsea then?

“Generally it was boring if you attempt to take the ball and drive and have house to run, they’re at all times so deep. I believe right here it is a bit nicer as a result of you will have the liberty to have house on the ball and attempt to drive and create issues.”

Hudson-Odoi main a protection might be probably the most thrilling sights in soccer. In 2019, aged 18, he turned the youngest man to debut for England in a aggressive worldwide, breaking a file set by Duncan Edwards in 1955. Bayern Munich needed him.

However an Achilles damage the next month had severe penalties – penalties that proceed to be felt. “The damage goes again years, however I nonetheless really feel like there’s nonetheless one thing that annoys you and generally offers you issues,” he admits.

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Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi discusses his damage struggles at his father or mother membership

“It had a big effect on me. Even on different components of my physique. For instance, you attempt to compensate your leg to make use of different components of your physique in order that you do not use your Achilles as a lot.

“Then you definately begin having different issues elsewhere.

“The damage is one thing that occurred years in the past, however it can at all times be in your thoughts it doesn’t matter what you do. I strive not to consider it as a lot as attainable. I simply play my soccer, do the very best I can. You simply need to play your soccer.

He feels it taking place once more now. Inspired by new head coach Xabi Alonso, he’s making an attempt to affect video games extra, to be extra optimistic in possession, to get again to the sport that made him so particular. “The final two seasons, I used to be not so direct,” he explains.

“So I felt like I could possibly be extra direct on the ball, attempt to create extra issues for the defence. This season I’ve had this sense of getting my acumen again and inflicting issues, dealing with challenges. folks, making an attempt to create probabilities, making an attempt to get objectives and assists.”

He talks about ‘regaining the momentum of feeling myself once more’ and he had his moments in a Leverkusen shirt. His Champions League purpose in opposition to Atletico Madrid in October helped knock out Diego Simeone’s facet on a dramatic evening within the Spanish capital.

Tletico de Madrid goalkeeper (C) Leverkusen player Hudson-Odoi (R) score the goal.  Atlético de Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen Champions League football match on day 5 of 6 held at Civitas Metrpolitano stadium in the capital of the Kingdom of Spain.  Final score tied at 2.
Callum Hudson-Odoi scores for Bayer Leverkusen in opposition to Atletico Madrid

“Not simply because I scored. Simply how intense the sport was.” Atletico missed a stoppage time penalty. “For them, they needed to win. There was a ricochet after which it was over the bar. It was all so loopy. It is positively the very best time I’ve had right here.”

Leverkusen followers helped out.

“I mentioned earlier than I even got here that the followers right here had been loopy. I used to be watching the sport and I noticed how the followers had been at all times leaping. Each time I play right here,” he mentioned, trying in the direction of the pitch, “it It is at all times packed, everybody smiling and laughing. The followers are bubbly.

Now the purpose is to complete robust. For these followers and himself.

5 straight Bundesliga wins underneath Alonso both facet of Christmas have helped. “We all know we began a bit badly and we knew we needed to speed up to get again to a superb place the place we all know we might be. We need to maintain attacking and end as excessive as attainable.”

October 08, 2022, North Rhine-Westphalia, Leverkusen: Football: Bundesliga, Bayer Leverkusen - FC Schalke 04, Matchday 9, BayArena.  Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso (l) instructs Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Xabi Alonso encourages Callum Hudson-Odoi to drive extra on defenses

And his personal targets?

“To complete as finest I actually can and push myself to the utmost,” he added. “I needed to come back right here and have minutes in my legs and luxuriate in soccer as a lot as attainable. I believe that is what occurred. Now he is extra centered on rising numbers with extra assists and attempt to create extra probabilities for the staff.

“I am positively excited concerning the future.”

Whether or not it may nonetheless be at Chelsea, we do not know. He nonetheless has a 12 months left on his contract and may solely watch costly signing after costly signing arrive at Stamford Bridge from afar. “I have not spoken to them a lot these days,” he says.

“I am not right here, so seeing all these gamers go, there’s nothing I can say or do. On the finish of the day, I am centered on the membership right here and making an attempt to assist as a lot as attainable. right here. No matter occurs sooner or later, I do not know. All I can do is concentrate on what is going on on right here.

And keep optimistic.

“On the finish of the day, you need to keep optimistic. All the time smile, regardless of how good or dangerous issues are, you possibly can’t stress. Additionally, if you smile, you are feeling assured and good on the ball and off the ball. land too.”

Watch Freiburg vs Bayer Leverkusen dwell on the Sky Sports activities app this Sunday; kick off 2:30 p.m.

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