Callum Hudson-Odoi has enjoyed a breakthrough into the Chelsea first team this season and following his involvement, largely in the Europa League, Maurizio Sarri has been waxing lyrical about his potential.
The 18-year-old has been the subject of interest from across Europe in the last few days and it is understood a £20 million bid from Bayern Munich has been rejected.
On the topic of ability, his manager was quick to identify that he is far from the finished article. Sarri said: “He’s a very good player, the potential is for becoming a great player, and now he has to improve.
“He has to improve, I think, in movement without the ball. As a winger, he has to improve in the defensive phase, but he has the potential to become a very important player, not only for English football I think but for European football.”
It is certainly promising to see a talented, English footballer getting minutes on the pitch for a side not only competing in the top four but also on the continental stage. However, it is very clear that his Italian boss intends to keep the England youth international’s feet on the ground to limit any chance of him getting ahead of himself.
The Chelsea manager also passed judgement on the balance between achieving success and promoting young players, commenting on the patience required by such squad members along with the supporters.
“Also the fans sometimes, also the club sometimes, and so I am in the middle. I have to win,” Sarri claimed.
“It’s not easy at this level to take the young players from the academy and he’s ready to play, not only here, everywhere in Europe.”
The Blues face Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup third round and it is expected that Hudson-Odoi will start the tie in what will be his seventh appearance of the campaign.