Omari Hutchinson says he's delighted to be part of the Ipswich Town 'family' following a footballing journey that has already seen him cross paths with the likes of Brazilian legend Pele and current England star Bukayo Saka.

Sent out on loan by Premier League club Chelsea for his first proper taste of senior football, the 20-year-old winger has scored two goals in eight starts and 11 sub appearances for a Blues side that reached the last 16 of the Carabao Cup and is flying high in the Championship.

It's been an interesting path travelled to this point. Released twice by Chelsea at a young age, the Surrey-born youngster was snapped up by Charlton in unusual circumstances.

“I was doing a few skills in the car park with my brother (who was training with the Addicks at the time) and one of the scouts saw me," he explains. "He invited me to join in the training with the younger boys and they ended up signing me.

East Anglian Daily Times: Omari Hutchinson celebrates after scoring his first senior goal in Ipswich Town's 1-0 win at Southampton.Omari Hutchinson celebrates after scoring his first senior goal in Ipswich Town's 1-0 win at Southampton. (Image: PA)

“I was there two years before I left and then had trials with Arsenal, Tottenham and Brentford. I also spent time with Crystal Palace, before taking a break for a year to play futsal.”

At the age of 12, Hutchinson starred in a South London youth tournament watched by one of the biggest icons in football history.

"Pele was there as a guest," he explains. "When the tournament finished, one boy got picked from every team to put on a bit of a show with their various skills. I actually sat next to Pele and there's a picture of us together. He said he was impressed with my skills.

“It was a special moment for me because my grandma was always saying I reminded her of Pele."

Off the back of that, Hutchinson signed for Arsenal and it wasn't long before he was invited to showcase his talents for well-known football content creators F2Freestylers. That viral video has amassed more than four million views to date.

A professional contract with the Gunners followed - Hutchinson cites Saka as a big influence for him at that stage - followed by a transfer back to boyhood club Chelsea. After making his professional debut back in January as a late sub during a Premier League game against Manchester City, the tricky winger was sent to Ipswich in July.

“I spoke to people who had been on loan at Ipswich previously and they were all very positive about the club and the manager as well," he said.

“I spoke to Harry Clarke, Tyreece John-Jules, Dom Thompson and Trevoh Chalobah, and they all had only positive things to say.

East Anglian Daily Times: Omari Hutchinson, pictured in Carabao Cup action for Ipswich Town against Wolves.Omari Hutchinson, pictured in Carabao Cup action for Ipswich Town against Wolves. (Image: PA)

"In the future, if I get asked by young players who might have a chance of joining Ipswich on loan, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the club to them.

“I couldn’t have made a better choice. The staff, the fans, they are all incredible and it’s definitely a club going in the right direction.

“Everybody’s happy and there’s not a single bad thing to say about Ipswich. You even get Ed Sheeran turning up in the dressing room. I couldn’t believe it when that happened."

Hutchinson continued: “With it being my first loan move I didn’t really know what to expect. I was quite nervous but I knew I had the ability and the personality to help the team. Those nerves soon disappeared after the skipper (Sam Morsy) and Chappers (Conor Chaplin) introduced me to everyone. All the players made me feel welcome and took me under their wing.

East Anglian Daily Times: Omari Hutchinson made his fifth league start for Ipswich Town in Saturday's 3-2 home win against Swansea.Omari Hutchinson made his fifth league start for Ipswich Town in Saturday's 3-2 home win against Swansea. (Image: PA)

"Kieran McKenna convinced me that I would develop at Ipswich and that’s what has happened. The manager is just the best, tactically and as a personality. I’ve got nothing but positive stuff to say about him and the way he works, not just with the squad but individually as well in his one-to-one dealings with us. Believe me, every day is a good day at this club.

“We train very well and we’re like a family in the way everyone gets along. That’s a big part of the reason we are doing so well and, if it continues, I think we are going to have a successful season.

“For me, I truly believe, 100 per cent, that I’m a better player, both on and off the ball, than I was when I first arrived. I always look back with the manager at clips from games I have played in. I’m learning about what I have to do to help out my team-mates, even if I’m an attacker."

East Anglian Daily Times: Omari Hutchinson (right) is enjoying working with Kieran McKenna.Omari Hutchinson (right) is enjoying working with Kieran McKenna. (Image: PA)

Asked if he expected to go on and add to his solitary Premier League appearance, Hutchinson replied: “I do believe in myself and I have confidence that I can get there, but right now I am only focused on Ipswich and the Championship.

“The experience I had in the Premier League, playing against one of the best teams in the world, was brilliant and I want more of that in the future. For now, though, I am only looking at doing my best for Ipswich Town."

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