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Eden Hazard

Hazard is my role model, says Chelsea wonderkid Hudson-Odoi

10:00 AM WAT 14/02/2018
Eden Hazard, Chelsea, 17/18
The Blues youngster has a bright future having recently made his professional debut and he counts his current team-mate as one of his idols

Chelsea teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi has revealed how he looks up to Eden Hazard as a "role model".

Hudson-Odoi made his first-team debut for Chelsea against Newcastle United in the FA Cup last month before being handed his Premier League bow just three days later in the disastrous home defeat by Bournemouth.

The 17-year-old, who is the Premier League 2 Player of the Month and won the Under-17 World Cup with England last October, has spoken of how Hazard inspires him to make the breakthrough at Chelsea. 

"I came here at Under-8s and I’ve become a big Chelsea fan. When you play for the club you support it’s a massive feeling. You just can’t believe it," Hudson-Odoi said in Chelsea's matchday programme.

"All these years I’ve been sitting in the stands and looking at players like Didier Drogba and, as I’ve got older, Eden Hazard and Willian, because they are in the sort of positions I play and I’d like to try to emulate them.

"When I was on the pitch with Hazard for the first team, it was such a great feeling. He’s my role model and, after all this time I’ve been talking about him and watching him, I couldn’t believe I was playing with him."

Like Ethan Ampadu, Hudson-Odoi is involved in both the first team and youth teams, with the latter having achieved unprecedented glory with back-to-back UEFA Youth League wins and having won the last four FA Youth Cups. 

Chelsea have also used the midfielder prominently in the Checkatrade Trophy, where their Under-23s side reached the semi-finals of a competition primarily designed for senior teams in League One and League Two. 

Hudson-Odoi has outlined Chelsea boss Antonio Conte's influence in transitioning him from a youth player into a first-team option for the club.

"The manager spoke to me before bringing me into the squad," he added. "He was telling me that I’ve just got to keep working hard and have the right mentality to play.

"Obviously I have had to be patient because I’m still young, but when I got my debut, that’s when I knew it was my time to come on the pitch, do what I do, make an impact and show I’m ready.

"The other players have helped me a lot. They boost your confidence, they’re always encouraging and wanting you to do your best. No matter what it is, they are there to help you. If you make a mistake, they don’t get on to you, they encourage you and say, 'Okay you can do this better, you can do that better'.

"It’s just constructive criticism that gets you more motivated and more energised to do better things in the game."