Callum Hudson-Odoi is ready to shine for Chelsea

Callum Hudson-Odoi is ready to shine for Chelsea

The 17-year old wonderkid is ready to star under Maurizio Sarri, but expectations should be tempered.

Harry Harris

Every season, fans around England clamour for the new league campaign. The idea of trophies fills fans with hopes and the fresh faces that have come into the club strengthen those beliefs.

Mixed in with all that excitement is the belief that finally, a club's academy product could break into the first team and establish himself as a young star.

For Chelsea, that academy product may be Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The start of something special?

Referring to his younger players, Sir Matt Busby once claimed that "if you're good enough, you're old enough." At 17 years of age, Hudson-Odoi has proven that despite his age, he is good enough for the Chelsea first team.

The youngster stood out for Chelsea's academy teams last season, scoring 21 times in 30 games and dazzling in the FA Youth Cup along the way. The Wandsworth-born winger made his debut for Chelsea last season under Antonio Conte, eventually making four appearances towards the tail end of the campaign.

In those brief cameos, he showed off his potential in small doses but he seems ready to make the next leap. 

Now with Maurizio Sarri as his manager, Hudson-Odoi was tasked with impressing a new coach and he has done just that during pre-season.

The winger has dazzled Chelsea fans with blistering pace, the ability to go past defenders, and a level head to match everything else.

Sarri has been so impressed with the youngster that he's suggesting fans "remember the name" for years to come. 

Against Arsenal and Manchester City, he came up against experienced first-choice fullbacks in Hector Bellerin and Kyle Walker.

Against Bellerin, the Chelsea winger constantly put the fullback on the back foot and terrorized him, eventually earning a penalty. On the other hand, Walker enjoyed more success against the youngster but still found himself facing a 17-year old that wasn't afraid to run at him and threaten in the attacking third. 

Throughout pre-season, Hudson-Odoi has looked like a player far beyond his age. Not only has his pace and dribbling caused defenders issues, but his intelligence on the pitch is evident.

In almost every game Chelsea have played this summer, the 17-year old has looked the best player on the pitch and is more mature than most players his age. His ability to find space and run at defenders has clearly impressed everyone, especially Sarri.

The new Chelsea manager assured fans that he would be a part of the first team this season and rightly so as Hudson-Odoi has earned his place in the Chelsea first team.



Patience is key

The winger is ready to shine under Sarri, but expectations should be tempered for now. 

While it's normal to be excited about the potential of Hudson-Odoi, it's important for Chelsea fans to understand that he's still likely to be fourth in the pecking order for wingers.

The experience of Pedro and Willian will likely keep the 17-year old from breaking into the starting XI consistently, but Hudson-Odoi will be right on their heels waiting for a chance to jump into Sarri's starting plans.

It will be a waiting game for Hudson-Odoi in the early stages of the season, but he is well on his way to finally breaking the trend of Chelsea academy products struggling for first team action. 

Patience will be key not only for Hudson-Odoi but also the Chelsea supporters clamouring for him to start.

He'll get his chances, and plenty of them, throughout the campaign and will surely push his way into the starting lineup sooner, rather than later.


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