Date published: Fri 3 Nov 2017
Author: B. Gibson-Patteux
Old Whitgiftian, Callum Hudson-Odoi, recently highlighted by The Guardian in the ‘60 of the best young talents in world football’ list, enjoyed jubilant celebrations at the weekend, after defeating Spain 5-2, in the FIFA U17 World Cup Final.
Following a 3-1 win against Brazil in the semi-final, England found themselves facing their old rivals in the closing match, hosted in India. Many of the team had featured in the U17 European Championship final, in May, when Spain had beaten England on penalties. England found themselves 2-0 down early in the game, but came back after half time scoring five without reply, with Callum taking the role of chief goal creator.
Callum, who is just shy of his 17th birthday, joined Whitgift in 2012, having been with the Chelsea Academy since the age of eight. Whitgift benefitted from his talents, particularly in the Investec ISFA competition, when, in 2013, a long-range goal in the final against Priory School (Edgbaston) helped Whitgift to a 5-0 win. The following year, Callum starred in the team which took on Chigwell School (Essex), looking to retain the trophy. Callum opened the scoring for Whitgift in the first half, after a 30-yard run. In the second half, he found the net from just outside the penalty box, and later put away a cross to complete his hat-trick, thus ensuring a fourth consecutive victory for the School, in the ISFA competition.
Callum left Whitgift in 2015 - having scored an exceptional 113 goals in three years for the School - to pursue a full-time career with Chelsea FC. He signed a new three-year deal with them earlier in 2017, following a number of clubs indicating their interest, such as Juventus, Benfica, Queens Park Rangers and Bristol City.
Whitgift’s Director of Football, Mr Andrew Martin, commented, “I am thrilled for Callum at this recent success, and not at all surprised by how much he contributed to the World Cup win. Though his skills and technique are outstanding, it is his commitment, his will to win, and a great family to keep his feet firmly on the ground, that all add up to a young man who will hopefully go on to have a fantastic career.”