Why Maurizio Sarri must give Callum Hudson-Odoi playing time this season
Sometimes the universe smiles and a lifetime opportunity is gifted us. Often though, such good fortune only come to those who devotedly work hard to achieve their set goals. Callum Hudson-Odoi is visibly putting in the effort. It’s pried open the door of opportunity. But Maurizio Sarri must provide a level playing field for the youngster.
At 17, most young footballers are still with academies and youth teams. You’d catch them being driven to training pitches by their parent or guardian. To them, meeting a player from the senior team would be considered an honour. Not Hudson-Odoi though. For someone born in 2000, this Englishman has hitherto done well for himself. Already a World Cup winner at the junior level with his country, Hudson-Odoi is maturing rapidly and could be an invaluable tool for Chelsea this campaign if Sarri plays fair.
Before we go any further. This isn’t an article that hypes Hudson-Odoi as the next big thing. Here, we’ll objectively discuss the attacker, his prospects and why he shouldn’t be allowed to rot on the Chelsea first-team bench.
Hudson-Odoi has only ever played club football for Chelsea. Started playing for the Blues when he was just seven. It’s taken him about a decade to smash into the Chelsea first-team. The speedy winger is no stranger to the Chelsea senior setup. Alongside Ethan Ampadu, Antonio Conte handed him his debut with the big boys due to his astounding performances with the Chelsea youth team.
After Hudson-Odoi made his debut, there was little indication that he would become a mainstay in Chelsea’s star-packed team. There were just two cameo appearances to mention – one in the FA Cup, the other in the Premier League. He amassed a combined 34 minutes in those games. So it’s correct to say he made no impact.
Conte has since found the Chelsea exit. Replaced by another Italian. Meanwhile, Hudson-Odoi’s name still rings. The new rave about the player began with Chelsea taking him, amongst five other teenagers on their preseason tour of Australia. Hudson-Odoi shone. So much that Chelsea's manager couldn’t hide his admiration. Straightway the Chelsea boss confirmed that the Wandsworth-born striker would remain with the first-team for the season.
For his age. The player under review is one of the fastest and intelligent players with the ball at his feet. He showed this in the pre-season champions cup game against Arsenal. Hudson-Odoi escorted Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin to the cleaners while leaving the Gunners rearguard for dead on numerous occasions.
"I am sure that if he can keep doing the things that he is doing right now for the team, then he will be very important. That’s something that he has in his hands. We will try to help him and I am sure he will be important for us.” - Cesar Azpilicueta, per Goal.
Hudson-Odoi has shown his capability. If Chelsea need an intelligent player with exuberance and pace they got one in Hudson-Odoi. Something like what Manchester City and Manchester United have in Leroy Sane and Marcus Rashford respectively.
It’s cheerful that Sarri has graduated the player to the senior team. There’s however, the small matter of how much playing time he would be given during the campaign.
Rumour is still cycling that Chelsea is eying one more attack-minded player. Perhaps Dries Mertens. Another experienced wide player added to Pedro, Eden Hazard, Charly Musonda and Victor Moses. One would need a microscope to see Hudson-Odoi playing regularly in that team.
Regardless of the apparent, the level of cool-headedness and professionalism that Hudson-Odoi has exhibited, the player should be able to compete with the experienced players. It all bores down to if he’ll get a look at by the manager.
Many young players at Chelsea have fought desperately to break the barrier of being underrated by managers. Callum Hudson-Odoi is presently engaged in that fight. Maurizio Sarri must help the youngster win.