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Callum Hudson-Odoi has to play more at Chelsea - Why Sarri's excuse doesn't make sense

01:03 GMT 12/03/2019
Callum Hudson-Odoi Chelsea Europa League 2019
Maurizio Sarri has suggested that the 18-year-old Chelsea winger isn't ready to play at the top level...

It seems as if a persistent approach from German giants Bayern Munich was what it took for Chelsea to realize the potential of one of their many young assets, 18-year-old winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Blessed with an abundance of pace, quick feet and the ability to play down both flanks, Hudson-Odoi was the subject of a transfer enquiry from the German champions in January, leading to speculation surrounding his future at the club and fans demanding more first-team minutes for the youngster.

However, the fact remains that Hudson-Odoi is yet to play a prominent role under Sarri. The Italian has used him sparingly, mostly as a substitute. In the UEFA Europa League, the young lad has shown that he can have an impact, scoring in Chelsea's last two matches in the competition.

With Willian getting into his 30s and struggling to deliver consistently, Hudson-Odoi deserves to play more. However, when quizzed about his reduced role even after the transfer window, Sarri suggested that the winger isn't ready for Chelsea's first team.

"He (Hudson-Odoi) needs to improve because he can arrive at the top only at 22 or 23, like every other player," Sarri said after Chelsea's 3-0 win against Dynamo Kiev in which Hudson-Odoi scored.

"I think it's very dangerous, at 18, to have this pressure. You have to improve, tactically, mentally and physically at that age."

Chelsea only need to look at their rivals Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur to know that Sarri's excuse doesn't make sense. Marcus Rashford was given a chance in the first team by Manchester United at the age of 18 and he impressed in the 2015-16 season and since then has become a mainstay. Harry Kane was 19 when he featured in 10 league games for Tottenham six seasons ago and he has since then scored more than 20 league goals every season.

When Hudson-Odoi looks to his peers for advice, he is going to see Jadon Sancho relishing consistent first-team minutes at a title-chasing Borussia Dortmund this season. Hudson-Odoi's former England U-17 teammate has eight goals in 25 appearances in the league this season.

With the threat of transfer ban on the horizon and a reputation of loaning out young players to shed, now is the time for Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea to ensure Hudson-Odoi is given a stage to perform.