Chelsea star Hudson-Odoi targeting more goals after return to fitness

Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi is hopeful of adding more goals to his game following his belated start to the new season.

The 18-year-old scored twice for England Under-21s in their 5-1 win over Austria on Tuesday, volleying in the opener from Max Aarons' cross before adding a second just before half-time following a mazy dribble from within his own half.

Those strikes took Hudson-Odoi's record to four goals and four assists across senior and youth football since returning to action in September following a five-month layoff after he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon.

And the England international is hopeful that he can maintain that record going forward as he looks to lock down a regular spot in Frank Lampard's team and earn his place back in the senior Three Lions squad.

"I definitely think I can improve," Hudson-Odoi said at Stadium-mk. "I am not a perfect player. No one is a perfect player, I think that every day when I go onto a pitch, I want to try my best, work hard and keep improving.

"I say to myself, keep going, keep working hard and hopefully more opportunities will come. I am delighted to get the goals. It is goals that I always try to get as well as assists - any contributions to the team.

"I am happy with the finishes and I will hopefully build on it and get many more. I have scored many solo runs, maybe not exactly like that, but I am delighted to get a goal like that.

"Hopefully many more like that will come and I will get opportunities to score. I will hopefully go back to Saturday with Chelsea and get another three points."

Hudson-Odoi is looking to make it back-to-back starts as he returns to west London for the visit of Newcastle to Stamford Bridge having been named in Lampard's line-up for the 4-1 win over Southampton ahead of the international break.

That match at St. Mary's was the culmination of months of rehabilitation following surgery in Spain to repair his damaged Achilles tendon, and he insists he is now back to full fitness having missed out on having a pre-season.

"I thought to myself as soon as I come back that I just need to get up to speed and get my fitness back," he added. "I think once that happens gradually my dribbling and everything will come back to what it was. Now I am feeling a bit more confident of getting on the ball and doing my stuff.

Callum Hudson-Odoi England quote GFX

"As the games go on I will get fitter, get more opportunities to dribble at players and I already feel better now. I wouldn’t say it is my pre-season, I think it is back to normal. I think when I was training, it was like my pre-season getting back to fitness.

"Now, I am back in the mix, training and playing. Now everything is back to normal so I need to keep working hard and hopefully get fitter."

England manager Gareth Southgate will have been watching Hudson-Odoi's display with intrigue as Euro 2020 approaches having handed the youngster his international debut in March.

Hudson-Odoi's first start for his country, however, was marred after he targeted with racist abuse by home fans in Montenegro.

The Three Lions were again victims of similar chants during Monday's 6-0 win over Bulgaria, with the match stopped twice by officials amid suggestions that England may choose to walk off the pitch.

And Hudson-Odoi is proud of how his compatriots reacted to monkey chants and Nazi salutes, saying: "Gareth is the manager; we always have to stick by him. He makes the decision, of course. As players, we speak to the manager and captain to ask them what’s right and what’s wrong.

Callum Hudson-Odoi England quote GFX

"If the manager says we stay on the pitch, we stay on the pitch, try to cope with it as players and we make the decision all as a team. If we think it is right and we can focus and carry on playing, then we do that.

"If not and the manager says something different, then we do what the manager says. It is all up to the manager and the captain. It is a captain decision but also a team decision. So we all have a say in what’s happening.

"It is disgusting to hear or see players getting discriminated against. It is not right. I say to myself, whenever that happens you have got to stick together as a team, which the boys did.

"I am really proud to see the boys stick together. In those situations where they say they would walk off the pitch it is right because no player should be treated differently. We are all equal. It is an equal game so we have all got to stay strong.

"Stay the same and the boys dealt with it well. Hopefully, everything will be sorted properly by UEFA. Everything that happened was obviously not right but we have to stick together as a team and move on from it."