Callum Hudson-Odoi appears to have accomplished something few others have done before: win a spot in the Chelsea first-team squad as a teenager. Not only that, at still just 17, Hudson-Odoi may be one of the youngest to ever do so.
Of course, Chelsea managers are no strangers to broken promises — whether by choice or circumstance — and Eden Hazard will be back this weekend to reclaim his rightful throne on the left wing of the attack. But there is hope that things will change under Maurizio Sarri, as there always is when a new manager is appointed.
It is not only the coach and the fans who have jumped on the hype train. Veteran defender César Azpilicueta, a first-hand witness to several Chelsea youngsters trying to make the jump from the youth ranks to the first-team since 2012, believes Callum has what it takes to be a key piece to the group this season.
“Callum is very talented. He has shown great character, great quality and is playing very well. His performances during pre-season have been very good and now it’s up to him to keep up that level.”
“If he keeps doing that he will be very important for the team. It is all about consistency. He is coming from an academy level. He played with us a few times last season and he is improving. That is really important.”
“But he has still room to improve. He is just 17 and he can go far. Every time he went one on one against Bellerin, he was creating problems but his defensive work is also helping the team.”
-César Azpilicueta; source: London Evening Standard
It is important to keep expectations reasonable. Hudson-Odoi is far from a finished product. (Ed.note: it would be pretty sad if he peaked at 17!) And of course it is “just preseason”. But, for once, just once, there should be no harm in setting aside our usual short-term thinking and give a youngster a real chance.