Omari Hutchinson: Kieran McKenna’s Cobham Star

Football academies have been a huge part of the ever-growing development of the game, giving young players the chance to grow and learn the club’s philosophy before breaking into the first team and making the impact they have always dreamt of. As the saying goes, if you’re good enough you’re old enough and Omari Hutchinson is proving just that at championship high-flyers Ipswich Town in their return campaign. Loans have been a huge part of the success for Kieran McKenna’s side and Hutchinson is certainly playing his part in a talented Tractor Boys’ squad, winning the EFL Championship Player of the Month award for his performances in February.


Academy Days


Training grounds across the world are lucky enough to boast some of the best young talents. From Barcelona’s La Masia to the talents out of Manchester United’s Carrington, a keen eye will find talent anywhere. London is privileged with the talent coming from England’s capital. Arsenal’s London Colney and Chelsea’s Cobham have seen some serious talent, with the latter being well renowned for the recent golden generation coming from the blues. What do both academies have in common? Omari Hutchinson has blessed both with his talent. Arsenal lost a star when Hutchinson swapped North London for West London, as he jumped ship in 2022 and hasn’t looked back since. 



The Jamaican originally joined Chelsea in 2008 and his father stated in 2012 he was released twice as a child by the blues. Hutchinson then moved to Charlton and during a game impressed when the Addicks played Arsenal. Trials and spells with clubs all around London including Arsenal and Crystal Palace followed, but ultimately it was a break that was needed to get himself back on track. 


The young star took a year out playing futsal which turned out to be a huge influence on his ball work. He credits the variant of football as where he learnt to get out of tight situations and use his footwork to his advantage, something he still uses today as his tricky feet are what makes him so unpredictable on the wing. 


Following his year out of the game, enjoying himself and playing futsal with friends he did eventually join Arsenal.  Hutchinson was first spotted in a street football tournament in London hosted by none other than Pele. What better than playing in a tournament than being praised by an icon of the game. Pele highlighted Hutchinson for his skills and his ability on the ball. 



The praise from Pele and his appearance on the F2 freestylers YouTube is what made Omari such a big name in the world of young talents and propelled him to where he is today with massive hype surrounding the youngster. Chances were hard to come by for Hutchinson and that is why he jumped ship to Arsenal’s London rivals. After all his hard work, he eventually made his Chelsea debut. He came on as a second-half substitute against Man City, with Chelsea coming out of the tie with a 1-0 loss. 


Hutchinson is still a Chelsea player, but his current-day talent at Ipswich Town is what is making many consider him to be a special talent.


Ipswich Town


Hutchinson’s recent performances at Town saw the young attacker win Player of the Month in the Championship. Typically coming off the bench against tired legs, Hutchinson notched three goals and two assists in just two starts out of six games in February.  Overall, Hutchinson played a mere 260 minutes in the month which doesn’t even equate to three full games and still managed to pick up the award. This impact put him back on the radar and showed what a star he really is. 


Whilst Kieran McKenna sometimes deploys Hutchinson in the attacking midfield slot, it’s on the wing where he best applies his trade. Hutchinson thrives off his ability to carry the ball and take on a man when it comes to it, often isolating his opposition full-back and taking the man on to cross or even have a shot.




Passing is certainly an area for the Jamaican to work on. His ability to pass isn’t bad, but he could have a higher pass completion rate, although it shows his nature to take risks and create for his team. The low percentile in progressive passes reflects his talent in getting into progressive positions to then pass to teammates, rather than breaking lines and creating chances from deeper areas again reflecting why he is better deployed out wide.


It is understandable why he is often put into that pocket of space behind the striker. When compared to other attacking midfielders and wingers, Omari’s attacking actions are up there with some of the best. His 2.4 shots per game and 3.89 shot-creating actions show his ability to get into positions and find teammates in positions to shoot.


The 21-year-old’s goals this season mean he is averaging 0.32 non-penalty goals per 90, an excellent amount for someone who typically starts off the bench. This puts him in the 82nd percentile for the metric when compared to similar players. His six goals and four assists in the league also put him amongst the best attackers Ipswich have for output.


Not only is he a strong option going forward, but his excellent work rate also gets shown week in week out. Hutchinson is a winger who loves to take his man on and thrives on the ball. His defensive ability rounds his game out well, always eager to get back and help the team even if it isn’t him losing the ball. 




His defensive numbers when compared to similar players are second to none, consistently in the highs for defensive actions per 90 as shown above. His tackles and blocks are particularly impressive, two standout metrics that show his work rates to help his team out when under pressure.


Omari Hutchinson is a name destined for stardom with all the traits necessary to be a top winger. Ipswich suffered a rough patch at the start of this year and despite their numerous attacking talents, this man has been a standout in getting them back into the automatic promotion race. In a lacklustre Chelsea team, the young winger should not be looked past to start when he returns ahead of next season. Hutchinson potentially could be the missing key in the Chelsea attack and will be lighting up the Premier League for years to come. 


By: Josh Wright / @joshwrightt12__

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Steven Paston – PA Images