Gareth Southgate will not force himself into selecting Callum Hudson-Odoi for England… despite Ghana’s plot to convince the Chelsea star to represent them on international stage
- The FA are aware of Ghana’s ploy to convince winger Callum Hudson-Odoi
- But Gareth Southgate has no urge to select him due only to threat of losing him
- He would not be eligible for Ghana with one more competitive England cap
- There is a sense his alignment with Ghana is a means to call England’s bluff
England boss Gareth Southgate will not be pressurised into selecting Callum Hudson-Odoi despite the looming prospect of losing the talented Chelsea star to Ghana.
The case of Hudson-Odoi’s international career is a curious one. The Football Association know of Ghana’s plot to convince him to play for the Black Stars.
Yet, Southgate – at least as it stands – has no urge to select Hudson-Odoi; the England boss unwilling to select a footballer due only to the threat of losing him to a rival nation.
Gareth Southgate (left) will not be pressurised into selecting Callum Hudson-Odoi (right) despite the prospect of England losing him to Ghana
The Football Association know of Ghana’s plot to convince him to play for the Black Stars
‘I’m trying to respect a squad that got us to a final [of Euro 2020], not make too many changes to that, and make sure young players really have to earn their right to come in,’ Southgate said last week.
The matter is complicated by the fact Hudson-Odoi would no longer be eligible for Ghana if he were to play in one more competitive match for England.
Nevertheless, there is a sense inside the FA that Hudson-Odoi’s alignment with Ghana is, perhaps, a means to call England’s bluff.
If that is the case, then Southgate appears unlikely to fall for it.
The Chelsea winger has already made three senior appearances for England’s senior side
Hudson-Odoi remains eligible for the Under-21s; playing under Lee Carsley would strongly re-affirm his position as an England player – if he wants to, of course.
Yet, he was conspicuous by his absence from the England Under-21 party last week, an omission that raised questions over his commitment within the FA given Hudson-Odoi had already turned down a call-up in August.
Perhaps is understandable that Hudson-Odoi doesn’t want to be considered for the Under-21s. Having already made three senior appearances for England, he may feel the step down would be detrimental.
Nevertheless, his apparent reluctance to be considered is unlikely to aid his chances of breaking back into Southgate’s plans.
That’s not say there are any issues between the England boss and Hudson-Odoi – the lines of communications remain open between the pair with Southgate understood to have been in touch with the Chelsea academy graduate in recent weeks.
Hudson-Odoi remains eligible for the Under-21s, playing under Lee Carsley (right)
But by the same token, Southgate believes he has not seen enough from Hudson-Odoi to justify a recall. It’s hard to argue with the England boss’ logic.
Mason Greenwood and Jude Bellingham, who have played significantly more football than Hudson-Odoi so far this season, were also omitted from Southgate’s squad to face Andorra and Hungary in the coming days.
So far Hudson-Odoi has played just 147 minutes of Premier League football.
So, it all points to a career with Ghana, who have made their intentions abundantly clear.
So far, Hudson-Odoi has played just 147 minutes of Premier League football this season
The nation rolled out the red carpet for the Chelsea star during the winger’s holiday to Ghana during the summer break, when he met president Nana Akufo-Addo, sports minister Mustapha Ussif and Football Association boss Kurt Okraku.
Under FIFA rules, Hudson-Odoi cannot switch allegiances until November 2022 – three years after his last England cap.
However, there is some doubt whether that would enable Ghana to register Hudson-Odoi’s international switch in time for him to be available for the World Cup – which starts on November 21.
Arguably his road to Qatar 2022 may well be smoother under the England umbrella. That is, of course, presuming he wants to play for England.
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