There is a nationality challenge brewing that could see Callum Hudson-Odoi of the English Premier League side Chelsea switch countries to go from representing England to featuring for Ghana.
This tidbit of information came from the manager of England’s Three Lions Gareth Southgate, who expressed his belief that the England squad was set to lose the starlet to Ghana after Hudson-Odoi’s decision to reject an Under-21 call-up earlier in September.
A lack of playing time in Chelsea saw the 20-year-old winger fall down the pecking order on the international scene. That may have led to snub the chance to link up with Lee Carsley’s Under-21 side this summer to “focus on his development at Chelsea” under Thomas Tuchel.
Although that was the excuse the player provided, Southgate was not convinced. The manager of the senior men’s team thinks Hudson-Odoi has grown disillusioned with the English FA, who have put their faith in fellow youngsters like Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka while sending him to play in the youth team.
The switch of allegiances to Ghana is now looking more attractive to Hudson-Odoi and the likelihood is that the 20-year-old will take Ghana up on a pending offer to switch to the West African senior team in time for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
According to FIFA guidelines surrounding the nationality question of football players from FIFA, Hudson-Odoi remains eligible to represent Ghana. FIFA rules state that players can still switch international sides if a player has made no more than three appearances for his country, all before the age of 21 and none of them were in a major international tournament.
Hudson-Odoi has three caps which have come in European qualifiers against the Czech Republic, Montenegro and Kosovo. His last appearance of the player came all the way back in November 2019.
The implementation of the rules which imply that a player must also wait three years until after their last international call-up before representing another country means Hudson-Odoi would have to wait until November 2022 before turning out for Ghana -which is exactly the month in which the World Cup is scheduled to commence.
The appeal of the opportunity to represent a country at a major tournament is thought to be incredibly strong as Hudson-Odoi is convinced that his prospects of making it into the Three Lions’ squad for the 2022 World Cup is in no way guaranteed.
His rationalising is not without substance as his club football count, which often determines international selection, remains low. He has managed just two appearances so far this season for Chelsea and saw a deadline day loan switch to Borussia Dortmund rejected, with Tuchel adamant that he wanted to keep the youngster as a squad rotation player.
At the time, Tuchel had said of Hudson-Odoi: “He fights against a lot of guys with a lot of quality. It is very hard for him. But we don’t have to feel sorry for him. Once the door is a little bit open we demand he puts his feet in between it.”
The youngster might attempt to force a move away from the Stamford Bridge club in January, if possible, or during the next summer transfer season, if the situation remains unchanged.
A switch of loyalties to Ghana will be the exact boost his professional career needs.