Rio Ferdinand admitted he was surprised by Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel’s decision to play Callum Hudson-Odoi at right wing-back in his first two games at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel raised eyebrows after taking over from Frank Lampard as he opted to play young winger Hudson-Odoi in a brand-new position.
The young Englishman usually plays on either wing in a front three, but was employed in a more defensive role for the first two games of the new head coach’s reign.
He took the place of Reece James, who was one of the breakout stars under Tuchel’s predecessor after bursting into the team last season.
And Ferdinand admitted prior to Chelsea’s win over Tottenham on Thursday night that he was surprised to see Tuchel make such a bold call so early in his Stamford Bridge career.
James returned to play in the right wing-back position at the New Tottenham Stadium, with Hudson-Odoi taking a more advanced role in the side.
The two youngsters combined well on the right side of the pitch, and caused problems for Tottenham defender Ben Davies.
And Tuchel has been told that in James he has a player at his disposal who has got “a lot” as an all-round player.
Ferdinand said: “He’s a top player and I’ll be honest, I was very surprised he didn’t start as soon as Tuchel came in.
“If he’s watching the videos, this kid is up there with the best right-backs in the league.
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“He’s a young kid got great attitude and his delivery of the ball is phenomenal and as an all-round package as a right-back he’s got a lot.”
Speaking about the switch before the game, Tuchel said: "[The decision was] a little bit, a little bit [of a change in shape], but this is what we have in the pocket and this is what we can decide because we have a squad of many good players that we have, and they deserve to play.
“So we change from game to game, what we think suits us best. Today is Reece's turn to show up and I hope he can."
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