Hudson-Odoi can be important for Chelsea this season, says Azpilicueta

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The Blues vice captain has praised the teen sensation after yet another all-star display in pre-season against their London rivals

Cesar Azpilicueta thinks Callum Hudson-Odoi is ready to be an 'important player' for Chelsea after his brilliant run of games in pre-season, including in the most recent 1-1 draw with Arsenal in the International Champions Cup. 

Maurizio Sarri is now deliberating over whether he should start the 17-year-old against Manchester City in the Community Shield, after his display caused problems for Arsenal's right-back Hector Bellerin.

As first revealed by Goal, Chelsea are trying to tie down Hudson-Odoi to a new five-year deal and Azpilicueta thinks that his young team-mate is ready to be considered a first team player at the club.

"Callum is really young. He has showed great quality and character," Azpilicueta said at the Aviva Stadium. "He is playing very well. His performance in this pre-season has been very good. Now it is up to him to keep at this level.

"I am sure that if he can keep doing the things that he is doing right now for the team, then he will be very important. That’s something that he has in his hands. We will try to help him and I am sure he will be important for us.

"I started at 17-years-old when I made my debut. It is about consistency. He is coming from an academy level. He played with us a few times last season and he has been with us during this pre-season and he is improving. That’s really important and I know that he still has room to improve.

"He is only 17 and he can go really far. I am sure that if he keeps his head and the way he is performing then he will be very good. Every time he went one-vs-one against him [Bellerin], he was creating problems. In transition he was very good and with defensive work."

Meanwhile, new manager Sarri has been able to implement his new system and style of play pretty quickly at the west London club.

Chelsea's players appear to have gotten to grips with the system fairly swiftly in a short space of time, earning two draws and a win in pre-season so far. Azpilicueta thinks that his side won't be scared to play their expansive football on Sunday, despite coming up against the record breaking Premier League champions in Manchester City.

"It is a different style," he continued. "We have been enjoying it from the first day, learning and improving on what he wants. I think we have played against a good team in Arsenal and we could see the way we want to play. Now we face Manchester City in the Community Shield.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hector Bellerin

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"We know that they are a very good team, but we will try to play our game. For example, two years ago when we switched to three at the back then from the first day we were very good. Hopefully we can switch again to a back four.

"It is true that you never know how long it can take, it is true that we still have a few players who are not with us, but with the squad we have, we have to try and go with everything we have on Sunday and try to lift the trophy.

"The way we play is we attack forward, we defend high, we try to get the ball from them and then play our football. I think today we could see very good combinations, playing from the back, pressing high, so that’s the way we want to play against them and that’s the way we can win the game."

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