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Ipswich Town’s Chelsea loan star Omari Hutchinson turns down England and Jamaica call-ups to focus on Championship promotion push





Ipswich Town’s loan star Omari Hutchinson has revealed he turned down call-ups from both England and Jamaica to help him stay focused on getting the Suffolk side into the Premier League.

The 20-year-old Chelsea player put in a man-of-the-match performance in Town’s 6-0 thrashing of relegation-threatened Sheffield Wednesday, scoring the first and fourth goals while also laying on the sixth for Ali Al-Hamadi.

It was a result which saw the Blues bounce back from their stoppage-time defeat at Cardiff City in perfect style to put them back into the top two in the Sky Bet Championship, ahead of Leeds United playing tomorrow, as they sign off for the international break.

Omari Hutchinson was all smiles as he addressed the media following Ipswich Town's 6-0 victory against Sheffield Wednesday Picture: Russell Claydon
Omari Hutchinson was all smiles as he addressed the media following Ipswich Town's 6-0 victory against Sheffield Wednesday Picture: Russell Claydon

But while some of his team-mates will be joining up with their countries, Hutchinson revealed he made the decision to turn down a pair of call-ups.

The attacking midfielder or winger has been capped twice in friendlies by Jamaica, where his father Leon was born, against Catalonia in May 2022 and against Trinidad & Tobago in March 2023. He has also represented England at Under-17 and U19 level.

"I got called up for both England and Jamaica but I said 'look, for me I want to leave internationals out for this season and focus on getting promotion',” said the player born in Redhill, Surrey.

Ipswich Town loanee Omari Hutchinson with his Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month award for February Picture: ITFC
Ipswich Town loanee Omari Hutchinson with his Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month award for February Picture: ITFC

"There's a lot of games and my body is quite sore as it's my first season in men's football.

"I just said I wanted to leave it all out and focus on Ipswich."

Asked what level he was called up for England, he said: "I'm not sure, it's either 20s or 21s, I couldn't tell you, they didn't let me know but I got called up and then the Jamaica first team as well."

On which country he wants to represent going forward, with his mother having been born in Dominica but having ruled that one out, he said: "It's a tough decision, me and my family are always talking about it and I've got a lot of time to think about it as well.

Omari Hutchinson celebrates his goal against West Bromwich Albion Picture: Barry Goodwin
Omari Hutchinson celebrates his goal against West Bromwich Albion Picture: Barry Goodwin

"As long as I'm doing well with my club football the chances are always going to be there for both. But as I said, it's difficult and I don't know what to choose yet so I just said leave me out so I can focus on Ipswich."

Hutchinson, who was named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for February after either scoring or providing an assist in five consecutive games, was also asked whether Town fans could see him return to the club next season.

"It's going to be a difficult one and I don't know the answer to that, but maybe, I hope so, why not?

Omari Hutchinson has been enjoying his first season of senior football at Portman Road and would be open to a return in 2024/25 Picture: Barry Goodwin
Omari Hutchinson has been enjoying his first season of senior football at Portman Road and would be open to a return in 2024/25 Picture: Barry Goodwin

"Listen, I can't tell you where I'm going to play, we'll see in the summer what's the right move and decision for myself."

Put to him that he must be loving it at Town, he said: "100 per cent."

Omari Hutchinson on the ball against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Carabao Cup victory Picture: Barry Goodwin
Omari Hutchinson on the ball against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Carabao Cup victory Picture: Barry Goodwin

On whether Ipswich would be his top club if he were to go out on loan again, he said: "It's a difficult one. As I said, I don't know, look it would be one of my main options if everyone agrees with it but I can't give you the right answer right now, you'll have to wait and see in the summer.

"I'll talk to my family and my agency and we'll see what the best decision is for myself."

Hutchinson, who has made one senior appearance at Chelsea, as a substitute against Manchester City in January 2023, agreed the Sheffield Wednesday game was his best in an Ipswich shirt as he took his goals tally to seven.

"Most definitely,” he said. "It was enjoyable to play in."

The tricks and silky touches were on display from the Chelsea youngster as he expressed himself on starting in the number 10 role in Conor Chaplin's injury absence.

"That's what the manager told me to do, he said when you play just enjoy, entertain the crowd and play your best game."

Put to him that Pele, who had previously praised him after watching him as a 12-year-old in a south London tournament he was hosting, would have approved he laughed before saying: "I hope so."

Asked for his highlight of the performance, he said: "I think all of it. I think we were relentless, we had to kill them off and keep getting more goals, we didn't stop and it was enjoyable to play."

On whether he thought they could have had more goals, he replied: "I think with another five minutes we could have got another maybe one or two."

Hutchinson also showed his unselfish side as he laid on the final goal for Al-Hamadi to convert from close range.

"When I got in the box I thought it was the right decision," said the player who also had youth spells with Charlton Athletic and Arsenal before Chelsea re-signed him ahead of the 2022/23 season.

"It was a bit too tight for me, maybe I could have dinked it as the boys said, but I saw him there and it was a great finish from him."

Asked whether the manager had been encouraging him to take people on more and express himself, he replied: "As I said, playing the 10 role, when you get on the ball on the half turn just get a the midfield, get at the defence and just cause havoc."

Asked whether he would have started if Chaplin were fit, he said: "I'm not sure. We don't know the team until the last minute, so I couldn't really tell you.

"It's not my decision, even if I'm on the bench I try to impact the games as I do if I start and give the team as much energy as I can, that is the most important thing.

“This team is very unselfish and everyone works hard for each other and that's why we're doing so well."

He added: "I think I've been training really well over the last two weeks.

"I think the player of the month gave me a lot of confidence and when I'm at my best I'm very confident.

"When we're training we're always competing for starting spots and if we're not it's just come on and do your job and make an impact for the team."

On his first goal, a key moment in the game against Wednesday, he said, "I've forgot how it was, I think I just took a heavy touch and reversed it.

"But I think it was very important as it got us going.

"We were very relentless in the game as I said.

"I think once we got that first goal we were very confident and we just kept getting at them, creating a lot of chances.

"We were good on set-pieces today and it was a good three points.

"It was quite end-to-end, they had good technical players we had to stop but I thought we done well with that.

"They had a few chances when they could have scored but we stopped that and we just kept going."

On his second goal, which ended any hope of a comeback at the start of the second half, he said: "Broady played it to me and I just took a touch and right foot and I brought out the back-flip for you guys.

"It was a good two goals for myself."

Asked how big a statement the victory was to the rest of the division, he said: "I think it's a big statement 6-0, we killed them off, especially after the last game that was very frustrating, that's what we do to teams and they did it to us so we got a taste of our own medicine.

"But I thought we've showed a lot of confidence there and we were relentless and hungry for more goals."

Asked if there was the belief they can get over the job done to finish in the automatic promotion spots, he said: "I think so but we have to just take it game by game.

"Everyone we come across we just have to be humble and show them what we've made of and whatever happens happens."

The player who has another year left on his contract at Chelsea was also quizzed on wherever he had received any feedback from his parent club about his loan spell.

"Not from Poch (Mauricio Pochettino), I just speak to my loans manger and they're always keeping an eye on me every game and they'll give feedback to the first-team staff. They all know and as long as I'm performing it's a good thing."

Asked if he expected things to have been going as well as they have at Portman Road, he replied: "Not really, it was just trying to get as much game-time as I can, even if it was the case it was in mid-table, as long as I'm getting minutes and performing.

"When I first spoke to McKenna he seemed like a real good guy. He's been in the academies and development so he knows how the youth are so for me it was the right step.

"I didn't really care about getting promotion or anything like that, as long as we stayed in the Championship that was fine for me, just getting minutes under my belt and experience."

Asked when he realised it was going to be a special season, he said: "When we started getting wins. We got five wins in a row at the start of the season.

"Even just how the group is, everyone's like a family, everyone works hard and I don't think you guys understand how hard these guys work.

"Everyone's on it, the sessions are not easy and it's just a real good group. Everyone's always going out with each other outside of training and I think that's the most important thing and why the connection is so good."