Jump to content

Omari Hutchinson


Recommended Posts

44 minutes ago, ulvhedin said:

Why can't he play in CL?

Probably because his name isn't on the registration list for UCL...

This is what the UEFA webpage is showing for our squad:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Reddish-Blue said:

Probably because his name isn't on the registration list for UCL...

This is what the UEFA webpage is showing for our squad:


Ok, i read the rules, and it is more complicated - youth players can play in UCL matches but they have to be assiocated with the club for two straight seasons

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Chelsea’s Omari Hutchinson: ‘The ultimate aim is the Champions League’


IPSWICH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Omari Hutchinson of Ipswich Town during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Ipswich Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Portman Road on September 26, 2023 in Ipswich, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Omari Hutchinson has made a habit of reading through the long list of football ambitions, stored on his mobile phone, that he has set himself for his career. It is part of his matchday routine.

“I started making the list of what I want to achieve when I was 17 and still at Arsenal,” he says. “At that time, it would have been about just trying to make it into the under-23s and doing well there. Since then, whichever team I am in, it’s about setting a target for goals and assists, how many man of the match awards and so on.

“Now I am on loan at Ipswich from Chelsea, I have set myself new aims; 10 goals and 10 assists for the season (he has one goal and three assists so far), the club’s Young Player of the Season award. But there are things beyond that. Like making it at Chelsea, winning major competitions with them. The ultimate aim is the Champions League. I have a picture of the trophy set as the screen saver on my phone, so I see that silverware every day.

“I know I am aiming high. But there is nothing wrong with that. If I don’t achieve everything on the list, then I don’t achieve it. It won’t get to me. But I am using it as a motivational tool.”

These self-set targets should not be misconstrued as arrogance or overconfidence, either. Hutchinson knows he has a number of challenges to overcome if he is to achieve even half his ambitions.

Those at Arsenal may be disappointed that his aspirations now lie in Chelsea’s hands rather than theirs. The now 20-year-old was actually released twice by Chelsea as a kid, then played at Charlton Athletic, an EFL club in south east London, for two years before joining Arsenal at under-12s level.

The attacking winger was highly rated as he progressed through the academy ranks and was earmarked for a senior debut. But it never materialised and, with his contract expiring in the summer of 2022, he opted to return to Chelsea.

Some suggested his motivation was purely financial. Hutchinson maintains it was a football decision.

“I was at Arsenal from 11 to playing for the under-23s. I have a lot of friends there and obviously the coaching staff, so it was a difficult decision to leave. I always felt loved there. All the fans were waiting for me to push on into the first team. But things didn’t just work out for one reason or another.

“I just had to get over stuff like that. I spoke to the people at Chelsea, saw the pathway they had for me, knew the staff there and some of the players. I already knew Reece James and he told me to come. Everyone gave Chelsea a positive review. I believe it has worked out so far.”


As The Athletic revealed last year, there were several factors involved, yet the opportunity to follow in James’ footsteps was particularly enticing.

The duo are close, having bumped into each other in football circles over the years. Their fathers are on good terms, too. James is now Chelsea’s captain, but in 2018-19 he left the comforts of Chelsea’s academy, just as Hutchinson has done now, to play on loan in the Championship, in his case at Wigan Athletic. He excelled there, with the experience a significant step towards making the breakthrough back at Stamford Bridge.

“Reece has been on the journey that I want to go on — from the academy, to a loan in the Championship, to the first team,” Hutchinson adds. “He told me to go and do my thing at Ipswich, to show what I’m about. Then come back and be ready (for Chelsea). Reece was always on my team whenever I trained with the senior squad last season, so I never got to take him on.

“I hope to be taking him on soon.”


Hutchinson has already made two appearances for Chelsea’s first team. Then head coach Graham Potter rewarded the youngster for a series of fine displays for the under-21s, plus a solid training camp in Abu Dhabi last December during the World Cup break, which included playing a full 90 minutes in a friendly against Aston Villa.

Potter’s initial plan had been to hand him a debut against Brighton late last October, but Chelsea ended up suffering a 4-1 defeat on the day and the youngster remained among their unused substitutes. There were four other occasions when he was named on the bench after that, but Potter did not bring him on.

Instead, Potter finally turned to Hutchinson when his team were 1-0 down at home against the reigning Premier League champions, Manchester City, at the start of this year. The debutant was flung on shortly after the goal and had 22 minutes to salvage a draw against the club who would go on to win the treble.

Three days later, he was brought on against the same opposition with 27 minutes remaining, this time with the team trailing 3-0 in the FA Cup third round at the Etihad Stadium. Potter’s side went on to lose that one 4-0.


“I must admit, I wasn’t expecting to come on,” Hutchinson says. “I’d been on the bench and not been used so thought, ‘I am not going to come on against Manchester City, of all teams!’ And then the coach just looked at me and said, ‘Get warm’. I am suddenly on the same pitch with Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Erling Haaland. With Pep Guardiola on the sidelines… It was a great experience.

“But it was a struggle. Some people might say it was harsh putting me on against them for my debut, but it is the best team in the world, so anyone I come up against after that is not going to be as hard. I will always be grateful to Graham for giving me that opportunity. It made my family very proud. Me as well. It’s what I’d dreamed of since I was a kid, and a big confidence boost.

“I was nervous. I was overthinking stuff. It was obviously different to what I was used to; I was a bit anxious, but that’s normal and how life works out sometimes.

“If I ever get to face City again, I will be a different player. I am used to playing in front of a crowd now. Ipswich get good attendances (there were 28,925 at Portman Road for Saturday’s win against Swansea City). I went from playing in front of a few hundred people at Chelsea Under-21s’ ground, Kingsmeadow, to 40,000 at Stamford Bridge and a live TV audience.

“There is a lot of stuff that comes with it. People just expect you to perform the moment you are on the pitch, to play like a mature 25-year-old with hundreds of games to their name. But you can’t just turn it on like a tap. I just have to block (the negatives) out. I still gained from the experience.”


At the end of January, Hutchinson endured another reminder of the realities of senior football.

The plan at Chelsea had always been for him to spend the second half of last season out on loan and a deal was lined up to join Championship club West Bromwich Albion on the winter window’s transfer deadline day.

“I was making my way up on the motorway when it all broke down,” he says. “I was in the car with my brother, signing the papers on DocuSign on my phone. But not long into the drive, we were told to turn around. I am not too sure why. It was not the best.

“It was frustrating for me. I tried my best to get in the right mindset for the under-21s after that, but I was a bit down. It was mentally frustrating. I thought I was going to be playing in the Championship. But it has all worked out now — I’m just grateful to be at Ipswich now.”

It is just after the hour mark in Ipswich’s game against Swansea, with the hosts 3-1 up, and head coach Kieran McKenna decides to replace Hutchinson with Wales international Wes Burns.

As Hutchinson runs off, the crowd rise to applaud him. That ovation provides a snapshot of how well the loanee has fitted in at Portman Road.

Both Chelsea and Hutchinson decided it was best that the loan was arranged early in the summer window so he could join in Ipswich’s pre-season. It meant missing out on making an impression on Mauricio Pochettino during his parent club’s own tour of the United States, but Hutchinson recognised the move to the second tier would give him a better chance to earn the favour of Chelsea’s new head coach in the long run.

“It is better for me to do well here, playing with men in the Championship (rather than in the under-21s),” he says. “When I go back, hopefully he likes what he sees and I can push on into the team. I got to train with him a few times before the Chelsea squad left for the U.S. I got to say hello, at least, and he gave me a hug. I think they were impressed with what I did.”


What is not in doubt is the strong bond he has forged with McKenna.

The former Manchester United first-team coach was appointed by Ipswich in December 2021 and led them to automatic promotion from League One in his first full season in charge. Saturday’s 3-2 win over Swansea sees them level on points with leaders Leicester City, eight points clear of third-placed Leeds. Optimism abounds that Premier League football will soon return for the first time since relegation at the end of the 2001-02 season.

One of the problems Chelsea loanees, particularly those from the academy, have confronted in recent years is coaches making promises to convince them to come to their club which subsequently come to nothing. McKenna, though, has kept all his. He has picked Hutchinson regularly — there have been eight starts and 11 substitute appearances in their 20 matches across all competitions — and worked hard to improve Hutchinson’s game.

As part of Ipswich’s sales pitch to convince Hutchinson to sign, McKenna showed him a video detailing how he could become “outstanding” out of possession if he made the move. And so it has proved.

“The coach watched me when I was with Chelsea Under-21s and saw that I could be good at pressing,” Hutchinson says. “But I didn’t really do it as much as I should. He said, ‘I’m going to need that from you if you are going to play for me in the Championship’.

“I have improved on it a lot. I’ve been watching clips of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, too; how they press off the ball. I have implemented that into my game and become really good at it. The coach has told me that I am now one of the best pressers he has seen, so that has become one of my attributes. I am making it a strength.

“You need to be able to read the game. So when the ball is on the other side of the pitch, get across, try and predict what is going to happen next. If the opposition make a mistake, be in a good position to pounce. So instead of me staying on the halfway line or, say, having to run 70 yards to help my right-back, I’m just 20 yards away. Things like that.

“I am starting to enjoy it. I win the ball back a lot. To where I want to go, I have to do it. If it is good enough for Salah and Mane, it has to be good enough for me, too.”


His first senior goal, against Southampton in September, stemmed from winning a tackle high up the pitch. There were several examples of Hutchinson doing the ‘ugly side’ of the game against Swansea too. He tracked back regularly to help Harry Clarke defend against the talented Jamal Lowe. As early as the fourth minute, Hutchinson won back possession from striker Jamie Paterson to loud applause. When he came out on top of a physical 50-50 with Harrison Ashby early in the second half, the acclaim was even louder.

Not that the flair which makes Hutchinson such a joy to watch has been forgotten.

He gave Swansea’s defenders, including another Chelsea loanee Bashir Humphreys, the runaround. He should have scored at least once and set up another, but it was noticeable how his Ipswich team-mates rallied around him at every opportunity to ensure his head did not drop.


“The main thing for a young player was the way he was getting in the situations,” said McKenna. “His movement in-behind has improved greatly over the last couple of months. The penetration in his game has been really high. His pressing, his counter-pressing, led to a couple of chances. If you’re showing the attitude to work that he is, an understanding of how he can get in and be dangerous, then you can always develop the last pass or the last finish.

“He works really, really hard on that, and he has got a great mindset. He’s threatening the opposition, getting himself into great positions and putting in a great effort for the team off the ball.”

There is a break clause in the season-long loan agreement so, if Chelsea’s tendency to pick up injuries to key players continues, there is the option for them to call him back to base.

“But Chelsea are pretty flush with left-footed, right-sided attackers, so it’s not a phone call we’re expecting,” added McKenna. “At the moment, all sides — our club, the player and his family and his parent club — all see the benefits of the exposure he is getting here. Everyone is really happy.”


Carlo Cudicini, who oversees Hutchinson as one of the loanees he mentors in his role as Chelsea’s loan player technical coach, is well aware of how well things are going at Ipswich, a three-hour drive east from Stamford Bridge. The former Chelsea goalkeeper regularly speaks with the youngster by phone, pointing out things Hutchinson is succeeding at and other aspects he needs to improve.

“One of the positives he talks about is how I am creating a threat when I am on the ball,” Hutchinson says. “One of the things he has flagged is having a good attitude at all times. Sometimes my head drops, or I let things get to me if I lose the ball or hit a bad shot. He tells me not to get too disappointed with myself, that everyone makes mistakes in a game. I should just get on with it.”

The England junior turned Jamaica senior international — Hutchinson’s two Jamaica caps came in friendlies and he has yet to decide where his future lies at that level — will benefit from the experience of regular game time in the second tier as he targets breaking into Chelsea’s first-team plans. The likes of Raheem Sterling, Cole Palmer, Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke are currently ahead of him in the pecking order. Making a mark will be a challenge.

“But there is always competition in football,” he adds. “I believe in myself. I know what I can bring to the table. I work hard, I’m self-confident. Nothing fazes me.”

And as he said that, Hutchinson could not resist taking one more look at the image of the Champions League trophy on his phone; ambition laid bare.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • 0 members are here!

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

talk chelse forums

We get it, advertisements are annoying!
Talk Chelsea relies on revenue to pay for hosting and upgrades. While we try to keep adverts as unobtrusive as possible, we need to run ad's to make sure we can stay online because over the years costs have become very high.

Could you please allow adverts on this website and help us by switching your ad blocker off.

Thank You