Omari Hutchinson’s impressive Ipswich Town loan spell and transfer hint will be music to blue ears


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If Chelsea needed any reminding of the quality that Omari Hutchinson possesses then his performance for Ipswich Town against Sheffield Wednesday would have done the job.

The young winger, only 20, was brought into the Blues’ starting eleven after Conor Chaplin sustained a side/back injury midweek in training ahead of the Portman Road clash.

Even if Chaplin was not injured, some quarters of the Portman Road faithful were keen to see the Chelsea loanee given a chance centrally after impressing against Birmingham City and Rotherham United amongst others too.

Kieran McKenna’s side, beaten 2-1 at Cardiff City last time out, were relentless in every area of the pitch and carved their first goal on 15 minutes when Hutchinson drove a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Cameron Burgess, selected again to represent Australia this month, added a second for Town on 37 minutes and Nathan Broadhead grabbed a third for Town just before half-time.

After the break goalscorer turned provider as Broadhead sent Hutchinson through-on-goal to score his second and Town’s fourth of the day. Substitute Ali Al-Hamadi came off the bench to inflict two more wounds on the battered Owls.

“It was an enjoyable game to play in,” a grinning Hutchinson said afterwards. “The manager tells me to enjoy myself and entertain the crowd.

“We were very relentless, we killed them off and wanted more goals. We never stopped going – another five minutes we could have got even more.”

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Hutchinson thrived against Wednesday and it’s clear to see that it’s a similar feeling more generally towards his first taste of senior football away from Stamford Bridge.

The youngster – who received call-ups to the Jamaican first team and England youth set-up in the past month but instead chose to focus on Town – has been on a fairly long-winded journey in what is a young footballing career already.

He was twice released by Chelsea, spent two years at Charlton Athletic and then joined Arsenal at under-12s level where he progressed through the academy ranks but never managed to get into the first-team. A return to the blue side of London came to fruition with his contract expiring in the summer of 2022.

Hutchinson has seven goals and five assists to his name this season, featuring in 36 matches of which 12 have been starts. His impressive performances means there is plenty of attention on him and being the Championship’s Player of the Month for February only adds to that.

The big question from a Town perspective, therefore, is whether they will be able to retain Hutchinson beyond the summer. A key factor of that will almost certainly depend on what league the Blues find themselves in next season.

Hutchinson, asked whether the Portman Road faithful will be able to see him again next season, says: “It’s a difficult one. I don’t know the answer. But maybe, I hope so.”

Pressed further, he adds: “Why not? I can’t tell you right now where I’ll be playing. We’ll see in the summer what the right move and correct decision for me will be. I’m enjoying it here.

“It’s a difficult one. I really don’t know. It’ll be one of my options if everyone agrees to it. I’ll talk to my family and agent and see what the best decision is for me.

“I’ve not had feedback from Poch [Mauricio Pochettino] but I do hear from my loan manager. They keep an eye on me every game and that’s fed back to the first team. They all know [how I’m doing].

“I have a healthy and supportive family. They come as often as they can, my dad Leon doesn’t miss a game. He’s not missed a game all season.”

Omari Hutchinson won the Championship Player of the month award for February

Omari Hutchinson won the Championship Player of the month award for February (Credit: EFL)

McKenna was not asked about his view on Hutchinson and whether the Blues would be keen to retain the Chelsea youngster. Back in November after a 3-2 home win over Swansea City the boss said it had been a “positive experience for everyone” and that the Premier League club could “see the benefits of the exposure he’s getting here”.

“Omari was excellent,” Blues boss McKenna said after the drumming of Wednesday. “He’s continued the trajectory and growth in his performances throughout the season.

“Anyone who has seen him over the course of the season can see the big steps forward that he has made.

“He played a slightly different role [against Wednesday]than what he’s got most of his minutes in.

“It’s one of the first time he started in that position and he still has lots to learn in that position from a tactical point of view.

I thought he really showed his qualities in that position: his 1v1 ability, dynamism, contribution to the team, his pressing, his recovery, his central blocking. It was a really good performance.

“There will still be areas to improve; Omari will be one of the first to tell you the things that he didn’t do well in the game. I’m sure he’ll be itching to get back on the training pitch to get better.”

Hutchinson has made huge improvements since arriving at Portman Road. The youngster, once praised by legend Pele, was known to have an abundance of talent but his move to Suffolk has certainly heightened that.

Ipswich Town XI: Hladky, Davis, Morsy (C), Woolfenden, Burns (38 Jackson), Burgess, Hutchinson, Moore (72 Al-Hamadi), Luongo, Broadhead (72 Sarmiento), Tuanzebe.

Unused Subs: Walton, Clarke, Edmundson, Harness, Taylor, Travis.

Sheffield Wednesday XI: Beadle, Vaulks, Iorfa (76 Famewo), Bannan (C) (46 Diaby), Ugbo (65 Smith), Bernard, Johnson, Ihiekwe, Poveda (53 Wilks), Gassama (46 Valentin), Musaba.

Unused Subs: Dawson, Palmer, Cadamarteri, Diaby.

Attendance: 29,325 (1,945)


About Author

When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

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