Callum Hudson-Odoi, here we go again.
We are growing tired of campaigning for him to start, just as Chelsea fans have likely grown tired of reading about it. Unfortunately there will be no contentment until we get what all we want – regular opportunities for the youngster.
Hudson-Odoi proved once again against Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League yesterday evening just how ready he is to play a more considerable role in Maurizio Sarri’s squad. Everything he touches turns to gold.
Hudson-Odoi has contributed to seven goals in his last seven appearances in a Chelsea shirt. If those figures were produced by Eden Hazard, we’d be claiming they were testament to his status as the Premier League’s star performer.
Yet, Hudson-Odoi is still finding game-time hard to come by. Cup competitions were previously his opportunity to stake his claim, but having been dropped for yesterday’s game, we’re beginning to wonder if we’re heading in the wrong direction.
Let’s revisit claims from Maurizio back in January, when speculation over Hudson-Odoi’s future was at its most intense. Our manager was quoted by the Telegraph giving the player, and us fans, the news that we’d all been hoping for:
“Of course, some times he will be on the bench but the same as Willian and Pedro. I can start to consider him on the same level.”
With the Telegraph‘s same report mentioning interest from Bayern Munich around the time of these comments, you really have to wonder if it was merely a ploy from Sarri to prevent his squad being dismantled midseason.
If that is the case, you question why any youngster should trust that they have a chance of making it at Chelsea under Sarri’s stewardship. All he has shown so far since taking charge is that he is unable to deliver on his promises to them.
Hudson-Odoi is perhaps the most questionable case, with the Englishman genuinely outperforming both Pedro and Willian at times this season, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ethan Ampadu could also be forgiven for becoming disgruntled.
You get the impression that circumstances would have to change considerably for Hudson-Odoi to be convinced that Chelsea is the best place to continue his development, even if we are the club which holds his heart.
That is, perhaps, the most bitter pill to swallow out of the (what feels like hundreds) of them we’ve been dealt this season, that Hudson-Odoi supports Chelsea and is a product of our academy. If laid the adequate foundations, could thrive here, yet he hasn’t been.
He’s one of our own, and we could lose him as a result of Sarri’s stubbornness.
It would be rather dramatic to suggest that Sarri’s treatment of Hudson-Odoi could lead to his sacking, but if the mood turns sour once more, he will be left with the task of convincing the board that Chelsea can have a prosperous future with him at the helm.
If Hudson-Odoi is not a Chelsea player come that time, he will have an uphill task. The time is now to start playing him. If not for the fans, if not for the player himself, do it for you, Maurizio.