Photo Source: The Telegraph
Without having made a Premier League start for Chelsea, Callum Hudson-Odoi made his first start for the senior England side tonight against Montenegro. He’d already picked up his first full international cap against the Czech Republic on Friday. He was the first English player to play for his country who was born after the team played their last game at the old Wembley Stadium.
The youngster lined up alongside Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling playing on the right-hand side of the three. Ross Barkley was also in the starting XI. Ahead of the game England manager Gareth Southgate spoke about Hudson-Odoi’s inclusion
“Jadon [Sancho] has had a lot of football too and Callum is fresh. They are composed and have good technical ability. They have good mentality so it’s a great challenge for them and the rest of the team.
Like Callum, Ross Barkley came off the bench on Friday in England’s 5-0 win, making an assist. Southgate has seen big improvements in the midfielder in the last year.
“What I have seen from Ross in the last 12 months is an improvement in that final third. What he did well for us the other night was drive towards the box and make those things happen that make him a special player.”
In what was an inauspicious start for England who went a goal down after 17 minutes. However, it was a free-kick swung in by Barkley that created the equaliser for Michael Keane 15 minutes later. A switch over to the left saw Hudson-Odoi’s involvement ramp up. He looked far more comfortable and that gave him the confidence to attack the right-back.
It was the two Chelsea players that linked up to secure England’s second goal. Hudson-Odoi cut inside and swung a shot goalwards, Barkley snuck in and diverted the ball past the diving keeper.
England retained that lead until half time. After the break, Barkley extended the lead further when he fired home a loose ball in the box. It was an accomplished finish from the burgeoning Barkley. That completed Chelsea’s two player’s goal involvement on what was a good night for our two England boys.
After the game, both players received worthy plaudits for their performance. Perhaps the freedom that Southgate allowed the two unshackled them from the restraints of Sarri-ball. Speaking after the game Southgate discussed Callum,
“He had a fabulous performance. His application with us has been excellent, he’s got to continue that. This is a great step forward for him but like any player you’ve got to constantly work and constantly look to improve.”
England ran out winners 5-1 with further goals from Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, cementing their place at the top of their European Championship Group.
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