There have been calls for Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri to give buzzing youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi a place to fight for his shirt in the Chelsea team, but the Italian is however keen on introducing Hudson-Odoi gradually.
The 18-year-old is already a firm fans’ favourite at Stamford Bridge and scored his fourth goal for the club in Thursday’s Europa League win over Dynamo Kiev. But the teenager is yet to start a Premier League game this season, with his starts coming only in the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League.
Hudson-Odoi finds a tough path to break into the Chelsea team, and is currently behind Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian. He is being chased by German giants Bayern Munich and handed the club a transfer request in January, but the club has insisted that he’s not for sale.
The Chelsea academy product came on as a substitute against Dynamo Kiev on Thursday and scored the third goal for Chelsea in another impressive performance.
Arsenal legend Paul Merson has now urged the English forward to be patient. He told talkSPORT: “I wouldn’t play Hudson-Odoi at the moment.
“I think he’s got to be patient. Pedro’s playing well at the moment. He’s turned it around. This is the player who came from Barcelona, he’s playing that way at the moment.
“I think Willian’s a top player as well. Them three [with Eden Hazard] all sing off the same hymn sheet, they’re experienced players who have played with each other for a long time.
“Hudson-Odoi doesn’t buy into that at the moment. He won’t play one-twos and flick balls round the corner. He’s an out-and-out winger.
“Give him the ball, he’ll isolate his defender and take him on. He needs to improve his game.
“The longer he’s there training with quality players, and with this appeal which has just gone down, stay at Chelsea because you’re going to get games now.”
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri revealed after the win over Dynamo Kiev that he is unhappy with the pressure fans and the media are placing on the 18-year-old.
“He’s a very important young player. He is 18 and still needs to improve,” Sarri said of Hudson-Odoi.
“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.
“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.”