Maurizio Sarri called Callum Hudson-Odoi ready for Premier League action at the start of January. The 18-year-old has played barely 30 minutes in the five league matches since, but he has notched a start each in the FA Cup (Sheffield Wednesday), the League Cup (semifinal first leg against Spurs), and after last night, the Europa League as well.
It’s a bit of slow progress, unlikely to satiate the kid or his rabid fans, but it’s better than nothing. It still may not be enough at the end of the season when the question of his future comes back into focus once again, but for now, the “very humble” winger (as Olivier Giroud calls him in the post-match interview) is saying all the right things, putting the team first, and happy to help when he gets called upon.
“I’m happy with the result. We all worked hard and played really well. Our mentality was strong. We paced ourselves and we deserved the win. The goal is a bonus for the work that the team did today.
“We are strong enough to beat any team [in this competition].”
-Callum Hudson-Odoi; source: BT Sport via Goal
Hudson-Odoi was probably Chelsea’s best player in the first half as the rest of the Blues came out of the blocks slow, nervous, and imprecise, and eventually collected his just reward in the second with a very well taken goal to set the final 3-0 scoreline.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has completed the most dribbles in the UEFA Europa League this season, with 25.— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) February 21, 2019
He's only played 312 minutes. pic.twitter.com/YO0nXMvB1T
His dozen take-ons provided a direct spark that Chelsea’s attack has often lacked this season — and it’s something that could be utilized a lot more often going forward, even if he’s unlikely to start on Sunday against Manchester City.
“I don’t know [if I’ve staked a claim for more minutes], I feel today the performance of the team was very good and hopefully I did well and made an impact on the game.”
-Callum Hudson-Odoi; source: BT Sport via Metro
We can only hope the manager (whoever he may be) agrees, and not just for the sake of this season but for the sake of the club’s future.