Callum Hudson-Odoi has been a hot topic for discussion among Chelsea supporters this season. The last nine months have seen him emerge into the mainstream, but there is a feeling we could be discussing a more sensational debut season. The teenager has received his first senior England call-up this past week, which follows a transfer window that saw Bayern Munich make several large bids for him. There is no doubting his potential, but Maurizio Sarri remains reluctant to give him regular minutes as a starter in the Premier League.
The problems he has faced at Chelsea shouldn’t come as a surprise. This is a club that has failed to realise the potential of Mohamed Salah, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne. They are now three of the most dangerous attacker in the Premier League, all operating at rival clubs.
However, none of the three would have developed into the players they are today without leaving Stamford Bridge.
At 18-years-old, Hudson-Odoi has time on his side and his current lack of involvement isn’t going to hinder him massively. In fact, the experience he is gaining will benefit his development. That said, he will see one of his close friends, Jadon Sancho, thriving in the Bundesliga and be dreaming of a similar opportunity. That will be why the links to Bayern Munich appealed as much as they did.
This season, the attacker has only been given 119 minutes of Premier League football. He is still awaiting his first start in the competition under Sarri. Hudson-Odoi has had to use the cup competitions to increase his reputation, something that he has done with aplomb. In the Europa League, he has made six appearances with a contribution of four goals and two assists. His goal involvement stands at one every 69 minutes.
Although the calibre of opposition isn’t the best, he has managed to take advantage of his opportunity and it is likely that his England call-up came as a result of those performances. Gareth Southgate takes a long-term view when selecting a squad and his decision to bring Hudson-Odoi reflects that, as the attacker is likely to have a role to play over the next decade.
It will be fascinating to see whether Hudson-Odoi is given minutes over the next two matches. If he does make his international debut, it will provide a damaging blow to his Chelsea future, as he will be left wondering why he isn’t given the same trust at club level.