Following Callum Hudson-Odoi’s impressive cameo in Chelsea’s 3-0 Europa League win over Dynamo Kiev on Thursday night, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri claimed Hudson-Odoi is too young to thrive at the very highest level and cautioned fans and the media against placing too much pressure on the 18-year-old.
“I don’t like if the press or the fans put too much pressure on him. At the moment he only has to think about improving,” Sarri said.
“It’s impossible to be at the top at 18. He needs to improve and then he will be at the top when he is 22 or 23.”
However, Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek does not think Hudson-Odoi should be held back by his age.
“If he’s good enough, he’s good enough,” Loftus-Cheek said. “I think the manager knows him well.
“He sees him in training every day and he will make the decision. But Callum is doing well at the minute and that’s all you can do.
“I think he is doing so well now; he just wants to play. He is young, fresh, has that momentum. He is scoring so when he doesn’t start and feels he should, it’s part of the game.
“I’ve told him: ‘You’re at a big club, you’re young, just keep your head focused and keep doing what you’re doing’ — like he did against Dynamo. He came on and did well.”
Hudson-Odoi handed in a transfer request in January as he looked to force through a £35million move to Bayern Munich but Chelsea insisted he wasn’t for sale.
The 18-year-old is refusing to sign a new Chelsea contract as he wants more first team football.
“I know what he is going through, having been at that age in the first team as well,” Loftus-Cheek added.
“If I can help him do well, I’d love to do that.
“He is such a good kid and seeing him do so well I’m really happy for him – to give him that assist felt good.”