Maurizio Sarri will have hopefully had his eyes firmly glued to the TV on Monday evening. The Italian will have seen Callum Hudson-Odoi prove once and for all that he is capable of playing a huge part for Chelsea during the remainder of this season.
Callum Hudson-Odoi’s International Recognition Piles Pressure on Maurizio Sarri
A Chance to Appease Chelsea Fans
Following on from a decent cameo performance on Friday against the Czech Republic, the 18-year-old was in great form as England battled back from a goal down to convincingly run out 5-1 winners in Montenegro.
Hudson-Odoi came into the team in place of fellow whizzkid, and close friend, Jadon Sancho. His rawness showed early on as a lack of defensive understanding played a part in the hosts taking a surprise lead. However, Hudson-Odoi was not fazed and went on to play an important part in The Three Lions’ comeback. The winger was not afraid to take players on and, on one such occasion, a fabulous run and shot led to Blues teammate Ross Barkley putting England into the lead.
Fans have been calling for the youngsters’ regular inclusion for most of the season. After starring in pre-season Hudson-Odoi has found opportunities rare. Cup competitions have seen him grasp the chance with both hands. However, Sarri is still yet to start him in a Premier League fixture. The Italian could certainly win over some fans if he’s willing to take a chance with the now England international.
How is possible to start for your country, but not for your club? In Sarri’s defence he does have a wealth of experience at his disposal to fill the wings. Eden Hazard is untouchable as Chelsea’s best player. Pedro and Willian have shown a lack of consistency though. Both players have delivered when required, but at times the team is crying out for the inclusion of Hudson-Odoi. Fans of the West London club want nothing more than to see an academy product prove people wrong and make it as a first team regular.
The youngster offers something different, something special: an ability to not only take the man on, but to get to the by line and put crosses into the box. As crazy as it sounds, he managed to get the best out of Alvaro Morata earlier this season against Nottingham Forest by doing exactly that. He also has an eye for goal and isn’t afraid to shoot when the opportunity arises.
Maurizio Sarri has a stubbornness that frustrates Chelsea fans. His handling of Hudson-Odoi is applauded by some though. The last thing Chelsea want is for the youngster to burn out by being overexposed at a young age. Sarri has spoken of gradually bringing him into the set-up. However, the fact remains that in Chelsea’s current state, Callum Hudson-Odoi is more than good enough to stake a claim for more regular involvement as The Blues fight for a Champions League spot.
The Near Future
Chelsea face a trip to Cardiff City on Sunday. About an hour before kick-off Blues fans will be awaiting confirmation of the starting line-up. If there’s no Hudson-Odoi, there’s bound to be a backlash. Chelsea do have a lot of fixtures coming up though. Next Wednesday they entertain Brighton and Hove Albion, before a Monday night clash at the Bridge with West Ham the visitors. The Blues then face Slavia Prague in a Europa League quarter-final on the Thursday. To keep the masses happy, and to prove a point, you would expect Sarri to take the opportunity to start the youngster in at least two of those fixtures. Over to you. Mr Sarri.