June 3, 2023

Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi ‘considering’ switching international allegiance from England

Callum Hudson-Odoi has three international caps for England, but is weighing up a switch of allegiances which could see him end up playing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Chelsea winger Callum Hudson Odoi is still weighing up international interest from Ghana, with the country’s qualification for the 2022 World Cup potentially offering him an opportunity to play in this year’s tournament.

The 21-year-old was part of the victorious England under-17 team which won the World Cup in 2017, and has played for the Three Lions right up to senior level. However, the last of his three caps under Gareth Southgate came against Kosovo in 2019, and he wasn’t part of the squad for Euro 2020.

Under FIFA rules, the youngster is still permitted to switch allegiances, and Ghana have explored the possibility. Indeed, Hudson-Odoi himself has spoken on the matter before, and the carrot of a World Cup place could be enough to make the difference.
According to Goal, Hudson-Odoi is very much “considering” a switch, with all three of his England caps coming when he was still a teenager. The Chelsea player’s father, Bismark Odoi, is a Ghanaian ex-pro who spent much of his career with Accra-based team Hearts of Oak.

FIFA’s rules changed in 2020, allowing footballers to switch allegiances providing they had played no more than three competitive international games before the age of 21. Hudson-Odoi could become the second England international to switch allegiances since the 2020 rule change, after Steven Caulker represented Sierra Leone at the Africa Cup of Nations.

“I don’t know,” was Hudson-Odoi’s response when asked about a nationality change earlier in 2022, as reported by the Evening Standard. “At the end of the day, we will wait until that time comes.”

Ghana already have a number of Premier League representatives in their squad, including Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew and Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey. It was Partey who scored the decisive goal for Otto Addo’s team in their World Cup qualifying play-off.
The Black Stars drew 0-0 at home in their first leg against Nigeria in Kumasi. However, with the away goals rule still applying, Partey’s strike in a 1-1 draw in Abuja was enough to see them through.

Another potential factor in Hudson-Odoi’s future is the appointment of former Premier League manager Chris Hughton as a technical advisor to Ghana’s national team. Former Ireland international Hughton, who was linked with the manager’s job before Addo’s appointment, had reportedly met with Bismark Odoi after learning of the FIFA eligibility rules.

If Hudson-Odoi does choose to represent Ghana, he’s unlikely to be the only English-born player in action for a different international side in Qatar. Matty Cash was part of Poland’s team which beat Sweden in the European play-offs, while Gio Reyna – born in Sunderland when his father Claudio played Premier League football there – is expected to be in the United States’ tournament squad.


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