News

Maurizio Sarri on Callum Hudson-Odoi’s prospects of starting a Premier League game, the 18-year-old’s recent evolution and his England experiences

Maurizio Sarri was back answering the media’s questions at Cobham today and he spoke at length about Callum Hudson-Odoi, a star for England during the international break and who Sarri hopes will play a prominent part in Chelsea’s end to the season.

It’s been almost a fortnight since the Blues were last in action at Everton and in that time Hudson-Odoi played his first two games for England. Sarri said he caught some of the 5-1 win in Montenegro on Monday when Hudson-Odoi made his full debut for the Three Lions.

‘I had 14 players in the national teams and I had no time to watch 20 matches!’ Sarri laughed.

‘I saw the England national team for only 20 or 25 minutes. Callum didn’t start very well in the first 20 minutes on the right. He did very well on the left immediately.

‘I know him very well, and I know very well he prefers to play on the left.’

Sarri spoke about Hudson-Odoi’s prospects of starting a Premier League game soon

‘We have to play eight matches in 28 days. I am sure Callum will start in two or three of those matches. Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup, for me it is the same. I am really very confident in him.

‘It’s not a problem for me to put him in the starting XI in a Premier League match. He is ready. But I can only play with two wingers, and we have Hazard, Willian and Pedro. In the near future probably he will start 75 or 80 per cent of matches.

‘He is doing very well, but he needs to improve more. His potential is very high. I don’t want him to stop improving. He can become one of the best players in Europe, but he needs to improve more. The risk is to stop improving.

‘In the last season Callum was only 17 and he played three or four matches. This season he is only 18 and at the moment he has played 19 or 20 matches. The evolution is the right evolution. Probably he will play 30 or 35 matches next season. With Callum we are on the right path.’

Sarri said he expects Hudson-Odoi to be here next season whether he signs a new contract or not, and the boss was also asked about the racism our young attacker suffered in Montenegro

‘I don’t like to speak to him about this problem, because unfortunately I am not able to solve it. He is very young, of course, but his character is really very strong. I saw him very well yesterday, so I think he is strong enough.

‘In every country there are some stupid people. It’s a big problem. We need to do something different. probably it’s right to stop the match for 10 minutes at the first situation. We need a rule for all of football. A rule that can permit us to stop the match.’

One of our games this month is against Brighton at the Bridge on Wednesday and tickets are on general sale

MORE FROM CHELSEA