Belfast Telegraph

Lampard happy to see Hudson-Odoi stride on

Chelsea 2 Nottingham Forest 0

Star man: Callum Hudson-Odoi celebrates his opener
Star man: Callum Hudson-Odoi celebrates his opener

By Nick Purewal

Frank Lampard hailed Callum Hudson-Odoi for taking a "step forward" with his match-winning turn against Nottingham Forest.

Hudson-Odoi drilled in Chelsea's opener and had a hand in Ross Barkley's tap-in as the Blues eased past Forest and into the FA Cup fourth round.

The 19-year-old endured a turbulent 2019 that included his England debut, being heavily courted by Bayern Munich and a torn Achilles tendon.

The Chelsea forward ended an 18-match goalless streak with the opener against Forest as he searches for top form, though, leaving Blues head coach Lampard pleased with his showing.

"It's a good performance, I was pleased to see him high up the pitch and aggressive in how he wants to get at people," Lampard said. "He came back very early from a terrible injury, and there were still issues for some time with him getting absolutely tip-top from that.

"So this was a nice step forward for him. The next challenge will be next time we play, can he do that again?"

Asked how long it takes a player to get back to their best after a serious injury, Lampard added: "It depends on the player and the injury. With Callum, when you're a player of speed and sharpness, that's one of your main weapons, with an injury that severe that is slightly held back at first.

"He's done a lot of strength work on that, so now he's getting close to where he needs to be in terms of speed and acceleration."

Lampard used the FA Cup clash as a chance to hand game time to a host of fringe players, though precious few shone brightly.

Olivier Giroud remained an unused substitute as Michy Batshuayi enjoyed a rare start, with Tammy Abraham rested.

The France hitman is a rumoured January target for both Aston Villa and Newcastle, and Lampard reiterated assistant Jody Morris' words that Giroud could leave this month - but only in the right circumstances.

"There's no update on Ollie, but I've spoken with him," Lampard said.

"If the conditions are that it's something he really wants to do and it works for the club, for me and the squad then it's something that could happen.

"But only when all of those bases are covered. So we'll see if we're there."

Danny Drinkwater is back at Chelsea after a loan stint with Burnley, and he could yet be heading out of Stamford Bridge again.

Asked if the former Leicester midfielder could be sent on loan again this month, Lampard said: "We'll see. It's a possibility."

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