Will Callum-Hudson-Odoi join Chelsea's young Three Lions?

Callum Hudson-Odoi could become the Blues' youngest-ever England international if he is handed his debut this week, surpassing a trio of players who stepped up to Three Lions duty at the age of 19.

Our young attacker received the call from Gareth Southgate shortly after linking up with the Under-21s squad for the first time, with that trip to Bristol cut short and swiftly re-routed towards St George's Park in Burton.

He is just the latest bright young thing to be fast-tracked into the senior squad in recent times as the excitement surrounding the national team, which built up during the run to the World Cup semi-finals last summer, continues to gather momentum ahead of the Nations League finals in Portugal this June.

Should Hudson-Odoi get the nod from Southgate any time before November, he will be Chelsea's first 18-year-old to be capped by England, thus also becoming the club's youngest England international.

There are three players who have represented both the Blues and the Three Lions at the age of 19, though, including two of our greatest youth graduates.

Ray Wilkins was a few months shy of his 20th birthday when he made his debut for his country against Italy in 1976. He was no stranger to responsibility at a young age, mind – less than two years before that he had taken on the captain’s armband at the age of 18 with a team which had just been relegated, and some would say Butch had the weight of Chelsea Football Club on his shoulders.

Many would have crumbled under the pressure, but Wilkins thrived on it – he was a genuine goalscoring threat and provider of many an assist. He led Eddie McCreadie’s side back into the First Division and shortly after winning the first of his Player of the Year awards with the club, he was given his international debut.

Unfortunately, plenty of negativity surrounded Butch’s time within the England set-up, which spanned a decade, with the midfielder’s detractors deriding his ‘safety first’ approach to the midfield anchor role, which led to him being nicknamed The Crab.

However, he scored one of England’s finest European Championship goals at Euro '80, craftily lofting the ball over the Belgium defence and running onto it himself before another delicate lob left the keeper grasping at thin air.

Jimmy Greaves, like Wilkins, was a precocious young talent. Chelsea debutant at 17, Division One goalscoring centurion before the age of 21; in between those two landmarks came his first England appearance, against Peru in 1959.

With his lightning-quick speed, a low centre of gravity and an ice-cool attitude in front of goal, he would not have looked out of place in the modern game. Many of those who were fortunate enough to watch him in action have said comparisons with Lionel Messi would be more than justified.

If you score more than 350 league goals in just over 500 appearances, all for top clubs, then it is clear you are a serious talent. His national team stats aren’t bad either, with 44 goals in 57 games for England.

It’s unfortunate for Greaves that his England career is often remembered as much for a game he didn’t play in than it is for the 44 goals he netted for his country, of which 16 were plundered from the 15 caps he won while representing Chelsea.

While Greavsie missed out on England’s thrilling World Cup final win over West Germany in 1966, his replacement, Geoff Hurst, fired in the most famous hat-trick in English football history; ironically, Greaves netted a record six trebles for his country on his way to recording a fine goal tally from just 57 caps.

He was our youngest England international for more than 40 years, until 2003, when one of the first signings of the Roman Abramovich era was handed his debut by Sven Goran Eriksson. Glen Johnson was only a day younger than Greaves had been, at 19 years and 85 days, when he came off the bench in a friendly match against Denmark.

It turned out to be one of only five caps the right-back won during his time at Stamford Bridge, which could be best described as an up and down period of his career as he struggled to hold down a regular spot in the team.

Despite his undoubted attacking brilliance, Johnson's defensive qualities were often called into question, which could perhaps be attributed to his age as he went on to establish himself as a regular for his country. Even so, he still departed Stamford Bridge as a Premier League and League Cup winner, as well as appearing in the Champions League during some memorable campaigns for the Blues.

Hudson-Odoi has missed the boat as far as becoming England's youngest international is concerned. That record is held by Theo Walcott, who was a couple of months past his 17th birthday. Still, he is in line to become only the 12th 18-year-old to play for the Three Lions, but ultimately the age factor is irrelevant – whenever your country comes calling it is a proud moment.

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