Saturday, December 2, 2023

Ex-Arsenal wonderkid says decision to join Chelsea hasn’t backfired

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Omari Hutchinson insists his decision to quit Arsenal and join Chelsea has been vindicated, despite having made only two first team appearances for the Blues.

The highly-rated winger appeared to be on the verge of making a significant first team breakthrough towards the end of the 2021/22 season when he was regularly included in Mikel Arteta’s first team match day squads.

Rather than stay and fight for his place, however, Hutchinson opted to rejoin Chelsea, who released him earlier in his career.

Hutchinson made only two first team appearances under Graham Potter last term, however, and following a deluge of new arrivals at Stamford Bridge was loaned out to Ipswich.

The Jamaica international has shown flashes of promise at Portman Road where Kieran McKenna’s side are pushing for a return to the top flight for the first time in over 20 years.

Despite appearing to be some way down Mauricio Pochettino’s pecking order, Hutchinson maintains he was right to swap north for west London and believes he is capable of emulating the likes of Reece James who impressed at Wigan earlier in his career, before making the grade at his boyhood club.

He told The Athletic: ‘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.

‘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.’


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