Callum Hudson-Odoi played his first game of competitive football in five months asChelseaU23s gave two injured youngsters the chance to make their comeback last night.
Hudson-Odoi ruptured his Achilles tendon back in April, ending his season and keeping him out for the whole summer.
The 18-year-old had surgery on the injury but was handed a boost when new Chelsea managerFrank Lampardoffered him a new five-year contract.
However, an agreement has yet to materialise and may hinge on Hudson-Odoi making a full recovery, starting with his appearance inPremier League2 last night.
James 👉 Hudson-Odoi 👉 Lawrence 👉 ⚽️!
Don’t miss the second half, it’s live on the 5th Stand app!#CFCDEV
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC)September 13, 2019
The twice capped England international was named in the starting line-up at Stamford Bridge and last 61 minutes before being replaced by Faustino Anjorin.
Hudson-Odoi also registered an assist, slipping the ball to Henry Lawrence for him to bend it into the far corner and open the scoring after 19 minutes.
Marcel Lewis doubled the lead in the second half and although Brighton did grab a consolation goal in stoppage time, there were plenty of positives for Chelsea on the night.
As well as Hudson-Odoi’s return, Reece James played for the first time since picking up an injury over the summer playing for England U20s at the Toulon Tournament.
‘First 45mins in 4 months,’ James said on social media afterwards.
‘Great feeling to be back out there. Thanks for the support!!’
Right-back James has been tipped as one of the young players at Chelsea who could benefit from the club’s two-window transfer ban and Lampard’s willingness to give youth a chance.
The manager talked up both men ahead of their return for the U23s in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
‘Callum has been training with us for a while but there are still issues that we need to make sure are okay with the injury itself, in terms of the strength and where the injury is,’ Lampard said.
‘He’ll need to get match fit, which is why these games are really beneficial for him. It will be great to see that.
‘Reece James is similar, not such a long time out but he needs games for similar reasons. I’m pleased with that.
‘They are two young players that are going to be big for this club going forward.’