Thomas Tuchel believes Callum Hudson-Odoi’s decision to turn down a call-up to the England U21 squad is a boost for Chelsea, but has warned the winger he may face consequences over his choice.
Gareth Southgate revealed on Thursday that Hudson-Odoi had decided to stay at Chelsea during the upcoming international break to focus on “staking a case” to remain in the Blues’ first team.
The England boss questioned Hudson-Odoi’s decision, saying “he has a better chance of impressing us if he is with the U21s as well, frankly”, but Tuchel believes England’s loss could be Chelsea’s gain.
He said: “I did not get involved in this discussion. I know it was a discussion between the federation and Callum, and I think it ended up with Petr Cech [Chelsea’s technical and performance advisor] being in the discussion.
“I was happy about that – I had no interest to get involved and know the exact reasons why.
“If Callum is here, we have full control of what he’s doing. It’s a good thing when we are in charge.
“He is clearly on the right way – you can see it in the matches and how effective he is. I feel he is very focused. He waited a long time for these chances and now they arrived.
“The best reaction from him is to keep on going and show the consistency that we need from him.”
Hudson-Odoi has forced his way into Chelsea’s side in recent weeks following injuries to fellow attacking players, and rewarded Tuchel’s faith in him with a goal in the 7-0 thrashing of Norwich and an assist in the 1-0 win in Malmo on Tuesday.
But while the 20-year-old may be receiving praise for his performances at club level, Tuchel warned he may have to accept some criticism for his decision to turn down an international call-up.
“I can understand if people don’t understand it or if they don’t like it,” the Chelsea head coach said. “I don’t give too much to judgements from outside.
“I think that Callum is very aware that if he takes a decision like this, not everybody will be happy.
“You should ask Callum about it. He probably has good reasons why he thinks that in this moment, for him personally, it’s better to stay and fight for his place. It’s easy to judge from outside, but you should hear both sides.
“If there are consequences, I am sure that Callum takes the consequences.”
While Hudson-Odoi will not be joining the England U21 set up for this month’s international break, his Chelsea team-mate Mason Mount has been included in Southgate’s plans for the senior squad’s fixtures against Albania and San Marino.
However, the midfielder was forced to miss the Blues’ last two matches due to a wisdom tooth infection, and – while he is available for Saturday’s visit of Burnley – Tuchel revealed the issue could force Mount to pull out of the squad for England’s World Cup qualifiers.
“It’s a tricky one,” he said. “He was ill but the reason is his wisdom teeth. It’s a bit of an infection.
“He was back in training yesterday and today. He lost a bit of weight as he cannot eat properly. He takes medication so let’s see.
“He’s in the squad for tomorrow and can play some minutes, but we will need to wait for the reaction because it seems a proper treatment has to be done.
“I expect him to [join the England squad] if everything is OK, but we need a proper treatment of the wisdom teeth. So it can be that he is out or he joins maybe a bit later.
“We will always push and encourage him, there is no doubt. We are proud when he is selected, and he is proud, so there are no tactics behind closed doors.
“But we have full responsibility for his health and there is something going on that we need to take care of.”
Although Mount is fit to return to the Chelsea squad for the Burnley game, they will again be without Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Mateo Kovacic through injury, while Tuchel said Marcos Alonso will also miss the game after sustaining an ankle problem at Malmo.
Tuchel: It’s not hard to see Gallagher progress
Unlike Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea’s on-loan midfielder Conor Gallagher has accepted a call-up to the England U21 squad following a series of impressive performances for Crystal Palace.
The 21-year-old’s latest effort saw him score in Palace’s shock 2-0 win at Premier League champions Manchester City on October 30, and Tuchel says he is well aware of the Chelsea academy graduate’s progress in south London.
“Well, it’s not hard to follow because he’s standing out every single matchday,” Tuchel said. “We had long talks in pre-season and we could imagine that he stays and fights for his place here.
“We decided all together when the talks came up with Patrick Vieira to go to Crystal Palace, and once he understood the role he could have in the club, he wanted to take the challenge.
“You need a bit of luck and of course a bit of quality, but his heart is so, so big. He loves football – you could wake him up at 4am and he will start running.
“But it is the beginning of November and he is an important member of the Crystal Palace squad. He’s good where he is and there is no need to change this. We are happy he feels so good.”