Anyone who saw the Three Lions* in their *opening FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 match will no doubt have been impressed by England’s No14. Callum Hudson-Odoi certainly gave the Chile defence the run-around during a comfortable 4-0 win, popping up on either wing and then using his ball skills to penetrate through the middle – not to mention the crucial goal he scored after just five minutes to give his side the lead.
*FIFA.com *asked 14 questions of the midfielder with the No14 on his back.
1 - Can England win the U-17 World Cup title in India?
Absolutely! We have a good team, and not just 11 good players. Our squad has real depth, and that could turn out to be an advantage.
2 – Next up for you is Mexico. What will you have to do to beat the two-time U-17 World Cup winners?
We’ve analysed them in depth and we know what to expect. Regardless of whom we’re up against though, we’re not going to change the way we play.
*3 – Recently, you signed a three-year contract extension with English Premier League club Chelsea. Have you already trained with the Seniors? *I’ve trained quite a few times with the seniors, which is a real help and a source of motivation when it comes to what to aim for on a regular basis.
4 – Four goals in your opening match is certainly a good start. Were you pleased with your display?
We put in a solid performance. The early goal at the beginning helped us a lot, as it meant that Chile had to open up and take more risks. We kept pressing forward, regardless of the score – that’s the way we play.
* 5 – Which is your favourite club?*
Chelsea, obviously, because I’ve been with them for so long already. I go and watch most of the first-team matches live. I enjoy being there.
6 – What is your favourite position?
Left, right, in the middle… I really don’t mind. If I had to choose, I would say in the centre as you get more of the ball, and you can then decide where you want to go with it.
7 - Who is your favourite player?
Eden Hazard (Belgium) because his style of play is a lot like mine. He’s my inspiration.
8 – You joined Chelsea when you were just eight years old. What was it like, being in the youth set-up with the Blues?
You learn a lot because you get a different coach every year. One thing that never changes, though, is the mentality, namely that we’re there to score goals and finish moves off. Team spirit was a very important aspect. You’re never out there on your own – you can only win as a team. That was an important lesson.
9 - What is your favourite trick?
The old nutmeg – putting it between your opponent’s legs. The crowd loves it when you do that.
10 – How important is team spirit?
The team’s overall mentality is absolutely crucial. We all want to win, so you have to leave your egos in the dressing room. We want to achieve all that we possibly can.
11 – You and Jadon Sancho seem to combine to perfection. Are you also mates off the pitch? *Yes. We get along well, we chill out together, we’re just good friends off the pitch as well. There’s never a bad vibe between us. Also, we’re a good combination on the pitch, as I think we showed in the game against Chile. 12 – What are your main strengths and weaknesses?*
My main strength is dribbling, and coming from deep at pace. In terms of character, I am very positive and always have a smile on my face. What I need to improve is my one-on-ones.
13 – The new FIFA video game came out a few weeks ago. Do you also play?
Yeah, we play a lot of FIFA, out here in India as well. I like being Barcelona because they’ve got the strongest squad, overall.* 14 – Does your jersey number mean anything to you? *No, a number is just a number. It’s a privilege to wear an England jersey, regardless of the number that’s on the back.