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Hudson-Odoi ready to start for Chelsea, says Hasselbaink

10:28 GMT 27/03/2019
Callum Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea
The 18-year-old is yet to start in the Premier League for the Blues but has picked up his first two international caps for England

Callum Hudson-Odoi’s performances for Chelsea and England should be enough to warrant a place in the Blues’ starting line-up, according to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

The former Stamford Bridge favourite believes that the 18-year-old deserves a chance from the start in Maurizio Sarri’s team after his game time this season has been largely reduced to starts in the FA Cup and Europa League.

He starred for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions as they romped to a 5-1 win in Podgorica against Montenegro on Monday in Euro 2020 qualifying.

It was his second international cap in a week, after making his debut from the substitutes' bench in Friday’s 5-0 win against the Czech Republic at Wembley, yet he is still to start for Chelsea in a Premier League game.

And now Hasselbaink has called for his old team to give Hudson-Odoi a chance in league football.

"It might be that he lifts the team in a different way and gives them a different dimension," he told BBC Sport.

"Chelsea should bring more youngsters through. I would say Hudson-Odoi deserves a chance.

"You have to say yes, he should be given a chance, because the others in his position are not really playing well at this moment.

"The only one that is really producing his best - a seven or eight or sometimes a nine - is (Eden) Hazard."

Chelsea are sixth in the Premier League under Sarri, with the manager having come under fire for a series of shaky performances that have placed the club at risk of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the second successive season.

That has left the Italian’s position under serious threat, and his failure to entertain Hudson-Odoi as a possible starter has heightened the possibility that the teenager will push for a move away from Stamford Bridge. Bayern Munich made an unsuccessful bid for him in January.

"It's easy to say things and criticise, but let's not forget what he has inherited and how the team was playing before he got there," said former Netherlands international Hasselbaink.

"He changed the style totally and that's going to take time.

"Consistency-wise, he will be a little bit disappointed. They should be better.

"But it's his first season in England and he is learning. He has brought a lot of positive things to Chelsea. Let's not forget that."