Maurizio Sarri has stated that Callum Hudson-Odoi needs to improve a lot if he is to force his way into the Chelsea senior squad ahead of more experienced teammates.

The 18-year-old forward was one of the Blues youngsters touted by Sarri when the ex-Napoli schemer arrived in the summer to take over at Stamford Bridge. Hudson-Odoi went on to impress during the pre-season under the Italian so much so that the Chelsea hierarchy had recently offered a five-year contract for the talented youngster yet the Blues forward is yet to put pen to paper having found first-team opportunities hard to come by.

He is yet to make an appearance in the Premier League this campaign and his outings for Chelsea are limited to just two cameo appearances in the Europa League. Despite the lack of playing time, Hudson-Odoi has attracted interest from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich but despite transfer rumours regarding the England U19 international, Sarri believes Hudson-Odoi is far from establishing himself in the Chelsea starting XI.

“He has to improve. He has to improve a lot,” the Italian said at a press conference. “First of all, in the defensive phase, he has to work. He has to improve in the offensive phase – he’s very good one against one, but he has to learn to move without the ball.

“He is potentially a very good player, and now he has to study and improve and work. But I think that’s really very normal. He’s 18, so that’s normal.”

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“I want to find space for him. It’s not really easy because, at the moment, we have 28 players,” he added. “It’s not easy to put him in the starting XI because, maybe, on the bench in the Premier League matches there was Victor Moses or Pedro, so it’s difficult not to put that kind of player in the starting XI for Thursday.

“So it’s difficult, but I’ll try to find a space for him. He is in the 18 players for the match. I don’t know if he will start or not.”