Chelsea have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to hot youth prospects. Tammy Abraham is once again storming the Championship. Mason Mount is wowing Derby County. Ethan Ampadu is a fixture for Wales already. But the one in the spotlight right now is Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Granted his first regular-season start by Maurizio Sarri on Thursday, he shined against ten-man PAOK, dishing an assist and grabbing his first-ever senior professional goal.
A dream come true, buzzing to get my first goal and assist for the team I’ve been playing for from the age of 8 years old, hopefully many more opportunities to come ❤️⚽️ pic.twitter.com/dqPoW9WLOz— Callum Hudson-Odoi (@Calteck10) November 29, 2018
It was a performance which matched the heights of his impressive pre-season. But Sarri says he’s not ready for the Premier League.
Willian, the man who’s spot he’d likely take, agrees.
“He has the potential. He has talent, he has everything to become in the future one of the best players. Now it’s early to say that. But maybe in five years we can see.
“Sometimes it’s difficult. Because you want to show everything in one game. You want to take the ball, want to dribble, want to shoot, want to run, want to everything as much as possible to show your quality, to show everything. Sometimes you make mistakes in that but you have time to learn. He is only 18 and I think he has a lot of time to learn.”
Alas, it’s common knowledge that Hudson-Odoi is in no mood to be patient.
He may only be eighteen, but he’s refusing to ink a contract extension until he gets some sort of guarantee that he won’t get lost in the limbo of the loan army.
"I don't care if he's 18, he's ready to play!"— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 29, 2018
"He is going to affect games every time!"
Karen Carney and Owen Hargreaves were hugely impressed by Callum Hudson-Odoi's performance tonight
A superb talent pic.twitter.com/LOvhR03Y4O
Willian sympathizes, even if he doesn’t agree. Of course, as someone who makes more appearances than any other player — Willian’s yet to not play in a game this season — it’s easy to argue patience.
Case in point: neither Willian nor Hudson-Odoi are starting on Sunday after getting the nod on Thursday, but Willian’s of course on the bench.
“We know he has great quality. We knew already before that he can come easy and play for Chelsea. He is only 18. I think he has time to learn, time to play. For sure he will be one of the best players.
“I’ve already told him that I will be his agent in the future.”
-Willian; source; Mail
In December, Chelsea play their last Europa League group match, a meaningless game against Vidi. And there’s a December tilt against Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup. Each represents a chance for Sarri to sway Hudson-Odoi with minutes on the pitch before the January window opens.