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Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi explains Frank Lampard role in stopping Bayern Munich move | Football | Sport


On the morning that it has been revealed that among hard man Chelsea manager Frank Lampard’s stringent list of fines for Chelsea players was a £1,000 rap for a player’s phone ringing during a meeting, off went Callum Hudson-Odoi’s, as he sat chatting to journalists at St George’s Park.

But as he grabbed for the phone, embarrassed, and the room exploded in laughter, the 20-year-old insisted that Lampard’s iron rule at Stamford Bridge was making him into a better player.

It took only one conversation with the new manager in the summer, he revealed, to persuade him to snub Bayern Munich and stay at Stamford Bridge.

And how the fit-again Chelsea winger has his eye set on breaking into England’s much-lauded front-line of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho.

Hudson-Odoi, since recovering from the ruptured Achilles tendon that ruled him out of Chelsea’s Europa Cup win last summer, as well as England’s Nations League finals, has been playing himself back into form. But Lampard was key to persuading him to stay.

Bayern had made four bids for Hudson-Odoi in January, the highest amounting to £30million, and at one point he had put in a transfer request.

The German giants were back in the summer, but Lampard had arrived – and the then 19-year-old signed a new five-year deal.

He said: “It took just one conversation. He said he believes in me, wants me to work hard and if I believe in myself, then things will go well for me.

“He wants me to play for him. They were signs you want to hear from a manager. I was excited. It was exciting times at Chelsea – a new manager was coming in and you know he will play at least some of the youth boys.

“I’m really happy I stayed. I made the right decision. I’ve been there all my life. Loved the club from day one.

“I was thinking about Bayern. I wasn’t saying I was definitely going to sign, or not. There were times last year where I felt frustration, times when I wanted to play more. But at the same time, I thought: ‘This is the club that I’ve been at and this is where I want to become a key player.”

But Lampard, who has given a host of young players their chance this year, has not gone easy on them – witness the half-time rollicking Hudson-Odoi got during the 7-1 Carabao Cup win over Grimsby. Witness the fines – especially the £20,000 hit for being late for training.

Hudson-Odoi said: “The manager is hard on me – but he wants me to improve and keep getting better.

“I always listen. I’m not there yet. I know I can get better.

“He is very strict on me. He wants to win and win in the best way, give the best performance. In that Grimsby game he told me at half-time, ‘Cal, do a couple of things better. Get into more pockets, run in behind defenders.’”

And the fines?

“We have a couple. It’s pretty strict and we have to stick by it,” he added. “But even if there weren’t fines, we would still be on point. All of us are very on time with everything that we do.”

With Sterling axed for the game against Montenegro after his bust-up with Joe Gomez, and Sancho struggling with a hamstring problem, Hudson-Odoi is in with a chance of his third cap.

He admitted: “Definitely it motivates me to be a part of that. What they’ve done is exceptional.

“Jadon is still young. When people say they are the best front three or four, for me it’s a motivation because I want to be one of them.

“I want to be around it and have people say, ‘Ok, there’s five of them now.’”

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