'Now he is ready' - Sarri backs Hudson-Odoi to take everyday role with Chelsea

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GLYN KIRK
Blues fans can expect to see the youngster starting more regularly after his head coach hailed his development over the course of the season

Maurizio Sarri believes Callum Hudson-Odoi can become one of the "best players in Europe" after the Chelsea teenager impressed on his first Premier League start.

Chelsea ran out 3-0 winners over Brighton and Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, with England international Hudson-Odoi setting up Olivier Giroud's opening goal with a pinpoint right-wing cross, as well as being a general nuisance to the Seagulls' defence.

Eden Hazard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored the other goals, but Hudson-Odoi was arguably the standout performer for long periods in London midweek.

Chelsea head coach Sarri said while there is still room for improvement from the 18-year-old, he has all the makings of an outstanding player and is ready for a bigger role with his club.  

"It's impossible to be at the top when you are 18," he told a media conference. "He needs to improve, he can improve, and I want him to improve. He can become one of the best players in Europe.

"As I said yesterday, Callum is now ready to play in every match, also in the most difficult matches because he improved a lot during the season.

"I was sure about his performance. He played very well. But I am really very happy with him because he defended really well. It's important to have three offensive players able to defend, otherwise the balance of the team is a problem. So, tactically, now he is ready."

Sarri also praised Loftus-Cheek and defender Andreas Christensen – who was making just his fourth Premier League start of the campaign – and believes the trio can form the backbone of the Blues for many years to come.

"Loftus-Cheek is without his back problem for the first time this season so could train every day for the last 20 days," he explained. "He played very well and scored a wonderful goal.

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"We are talking about Callum and Ruben, but I was impressed by the performance of Christensen. I want to speak also about Christensen because, in the last period, he played really very well.

"I think it's important that Callum, Ruben and Christensen – he's not English, but it's the same because he's a player from our academy – are very important for the club.

"They are, at the moment, very important players but the potential is higher. So, in the future, they can become top players. I think, for this team, the future could be good."

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