Callum Hudson-Odoi reflects on "crazy day" as he's called up to senior England squad

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Highly-rated Chelsea teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi has been handed his first England call-up.

Part of the side that won the Under-17 World Cup in 2017, the 18-year-old has been subject of sustained interest from Bayern Munich having made his first-team breakthrough at Stamford Bridge this season.

Hudson-Odoi has yet to start a Premier League match for Chelsea but Gareth Southgate has promoted the talented winger to the senior squad after Manchester United’s Luke Shaw became the fourth player to withdraw through injury.

It has been a whirlwind day for the teenager, who had been in Bristol preparing for his first taste of international Under-21 football with Aidy Boothroyd’s side when the call came.

Hudson-Odoi had barely finished his lunch with the Young Lions before heading up to St George’s Park to join the senior team for the Euro 2020 double-header against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

“It’s been a crazy day but getting my first (senior) international call-up is an amazing feeling,” the 18-year-old said.

Hudson-Odoi has impressed in sporadic outings for Chelsea, and his Stamford Bridge future remains unclear.

Hudson-Odoi has impressed in sporadic outings for Chelsea, and his Stamford Bridge future remains unclear.

“Today has been a very long day for me because I had to travel to Bristol first for the U21s and then getting told that I have to come over here to St George’s Park.

“It’s been a crazy experience but I’m delighted to get the call and it’s a nice feeling to be here as well.

“I thought the manager was joking. I was shocked and then when I heard that I actually had to go over, I couldn’t believe it. I was delighted.

“It’s a dream come true. Now I’ve got to work hard, enjoy every moment and keep working to just hopefully make an impact when I get the opportunity.

“Everybody here is very humble and they’re very nice. They make sure you’re comfortable, no-one has an ego here so hopefully I get to know more of the boys here.”

Hudson-Odoi had already been in the news on Monday after Chelsea confirmed they had lodged a formal complaint with UEFA over racist abuse aimed at the player during the closing stages of the 5-0 Europa League win away to Dynamo Kiev last week.

The 18-year-old scored in the Ukrainian capital and will become the youngest Chelsea player in history to play for England if he makes his debut this month.

Hudson-Odoi is the second new addition to the squad after in-form Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse linked up with the Three Lions earlier in the day.

There was some surprise about his omission from the 25-man squad named last week and Southgate had no hesitation in turning to his former Under-21 captain after Fabian Delph, John Stones and Ruben Loftus-Cheek pulled out of the squad.

James Ward-Prowse is also an injury replacement in the squad.

James Ward-Prowse is also an injury replacement in the squad.

Delph was replaced less than an hour into Manchester City’s FA Cup quarter-final win at Swansea, which team-mate Stones missed with a groin injury.

Loftus-Cheek came on as a second-half substitute as Chelsea lost to Everton on Sunday and has now been replaced by former Young Lions team-mate Ward-Prowse.

The 24-year-old has flourished under Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, who has helped add aggression and goals to the midfielder’s game.

Ward-Prowse has scored six goals since the turn of the year, including stunning free-kicks in Southampton’s last two matches, and was in such impressive form that Southgate was quizzed about why he had overlooked him last week.

“We love Prowsey,” the Three Lions boss said. “I’ve been accused of being a father of Prowsey over the years.

“This most recent spell is his best spell since we capped him before. He is, I would say, a world-class deliverer of set-plays.

“But he’s only recently got back into the team at Southampton. I think we’ve got some (good) midfield players and it isn’t a straightforward selection.”

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Ryan Giggs aware Euro 2020 qualifying campaign will define his time as Wales manager

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Ryan Giggs is determined to win over his Wales doubters after acknowledging that the 2020 European Championship campaign will define his time as national-team manager.

Wales start their Euro 2020 qualifiers at home to Slovakia on Sunday, with the jury still out on Giggs’ 14 months in charge since he succeeded Chris Coleman.

On the face of it, Giggs has had an average return of three wins, one draw and five defeats from his nine games in charge.

But the former Manchester United star has fast-tracked an exciting group of young players into the senior set-up, and the 4-1 demolition of the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League last September saw Wales produce some scintillating football.

Wales eventually finished second in their Nations League group behind Denmark and Giggs said: “I put myself under pressure last year so whether it’s a honeymoon period or not, I’m not too sure.

“I put myself under pressure. That’s the only pressure I feel really. I think I will be judged on the qualifying games, I knew that going into the job.

Wales stunned Belgium in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 to set up a semi-final with Portugal.

Wales stunned Belgium in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 to set up a semi-final with Portugal.

“Getting Wales to a major championships, that’s how I will be judged.”

Coleman guided Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, the country’s first appearance at a major tournament for 58 years. But his six-year stay came to an end after Wales failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“People do expect (qualification), understandably because of what we achieved at Euro 2016,” Giggs said.

“But it’s been once in 60 years, so we don’t qualify on a regular basis. That’s what my job is now to qualify or at least compete. We didn’t qualify for the World Cup, but we competed.

“In the past we nearly got somewhere and in the next campaign we were nowhere near. We want to be competing or getting close on a consistent basis. If we do that then we will get to more championships than not.”

Giggs’ commitment – or the perceived lack of it – has attracted criticism from some quarters in Wales given his ambassadorial, business and consultancy interests around the world.

The 45-year-old is involved with a football academy in Vietnam and is also an ambassador for the Champions League, as well as holding various commercial interests.

“My primary job is to get Wales to a European Championship,” Giggs said ahead of Wednesday’s pre-Slovakia friendly with Trinidad and Tobago in Wrexham.

“Yes, I’ve got other commitments that the FAW (Football Association of Wales) knew before I took over.

“I’ve been to Vietnam, which gives me five days on the grass coaching, and I was in South Africa for three days as an ambassador for the Champions League.

“But I’m being introduced as the Welsh manager and that can only be good in my eyes.

“I have other commitments, but I take the job of managing Wales very seriously and I’m 100 per cent committed.”

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Ryan Giggs believes Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey will step up his game at Juventus

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Aaron Ramsey

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey will emulate Gareth Bale and take his game to the next level when he moves abroad this summer, according to his Wales manager Ryan Giggs.

Ramsey’s 11-year Arsenal stay will come to an end when he officially joins Juventus on July 1, the 28-year-old having signed a pre-contract agreement with the Serie A champions.

Wales team-mate Bale is in his sixth season at Real Madrid in Spain, where he has scored more than 100 goals and won four Champions League titles, and Giggs expects Ramsey to similarly flourish alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and company in Turin.

“You’ve seen what it (going abroad) has done for Gareth,” said Giggs.

“It will be a great experience for Aaron and he is going to a great club, the biggest in Italy.

“Look at the facilities Juventus have got, they are a massive club.

“He is playing well at the moment and (leaving Arsenal) has not affected him.”

Giggs has an increasingly cosmopolitan squad at his disposal with 18-year-old winger Rabbi Matondo having also moved to Germany in January.

Gareth Bale and Ryan Giggs

Gareth Bale and Ryan Giggs

Matondo joined Schalke from Manchester City for around £10 million just a couple of months after making his Wales debut in Albania.

He is expected to win his second cap against Trinidad & Tobago in a friendly in Wrexham on Wednesday, four days before Wales open their 2020 European Championship qualifying campaign at home to Slovakia in Cardiff.

“I was slightly surprised when he went, but Rabbi is a talent,” Giggs said.

“He has electrifying pace and that always keeps you interested. Obviously after that you have to develop.

“If a full-back works you out you have to have that Plan B, but he can hurt teams.

“It is great he has had that different experience, like I’ve touched on with Rambo, and gone to a different country.”

Matondo has followed the same path to the Bundesliga as England’s Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, another exciting teenager who went through the City academy system.

“If he’s half as successful as Sancho has been so far, I’ll be happy.” Giggs said.

“We have players in the Premier League, different countries, Championship and League One.

“So it is a real diverse group of players, playing at different levels and in different situations.

“It brings a different flavour to the group and that’s good.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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