Sarri holds high hopes for rising star Hudson-Odoi
Chelsea are keen to tie the teenager down to a new long-term contract.
Maurizio Sarri has urged Callum Hudson-Odoi to become “one of the most important players in Europe” – by staying at Chelsea.
Hudson-Odoi has now made his senior England debut before his full Premier League bow, but Chelsea head coach Sarri insists he holds only the highest hopes for the Blues’ teen sensation.
The 18-year-old’s Chelsea contract expires in the summer of 2020, and the Blues rebuffed a £35million bid from Bayern Munich back in January.
Chelsea are understood to want to finalise a new long-term deal for their home-grown forward by the end of the summer.
Asked if he expects Hudson-Odoi to be at Chelsea next term, Sarri said: “I think so, I think so. I’m not able to say if he’s going to sign a new contract or not, but I think he will stay here with us in any case.
“Probably, in the near future, he will start in 75 to 80 per cent of matches.
“He is doing very well, but he needs to improve more because the potential is really very high. And so I don’t want him to stop improving.
“He can become, I think, one of the most important players in Europe.”
Hudson-Odoi’s father Bismark and brother Bradley act as his advisors, with Bismark the Chelsea star’s registered agent.
Chelsea are keen to keep negotiating with a view to securing their prize asset on a new deal, and are understood to be outlining all of the positives that would accompany blossoming into a genuine superstar at his boyhood club.
The Blues face Cardiff in Wales on Sunday as the Premier League returns after the international window, in which Hudson-Odoi won his first two senior England caps.
The Wandsworth-born forward has been backed to shake off the racial abuse he has suffered in recent action for both Chelsea and England.
And Sarri also insisted the 18-year-old is ready for his full Premier League debut, with that milestone having so far eluded him purely “by chance”.
He can become, I think, one of the most important players in Europe. Sarri on Hudson-Odoi
“We have to play eight matches in 28 days, and so I am sure that Callum will start in two or three matches,” said Sarri.
“Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup, for me, it’s the same; for me, there’s no difference.
“I’m really very confident in him. He has started a lot of matches, not in the Premier League, but that’s by chance.
From the Under-10s to the men's team, @Calteck10 has scored some special goals for the Blues!— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 29, 2019
Take a look at these! 🔥
“It’s not a problem for me to put him in the starting XI in a Premier League match. He’s ready.
“But of course I can play with only two wingers. In the squad we have (Eden) Hazard, Willian, Pedro, so it’s not really very easy to start in every match here.”
Sarri insists staggering Hudson-Odoi’s first-team progress at Chelsea remains in the player’s best interests, and urged him to stay grounded and patient.
“He has to stay with his feet on the floor,” said Sarri.
“He has to work every day, and improve the left, improve in the defensive phase, improve the movement without the ball. It’s for his own good, but also for my good!”
And Sarri explained Hudson-Odoi’s senior England bow preceding his full top-flight debut by claiming the Premier League can represent a higher standard than the international arena.
“In qualification for the European Championship, the level is really very low, it’s not Premier League level, of course,” said Sarri.
It's incredible that a player who is very important for a club has to play in Malta and Cyprus, in Liechtenstein or Andorra. Maurizio Sarri
“There are a lot of national teams with a very low level.
“I cannot understand why there is only one group; maybe it’s better to have the European Championship for the first level, and also for a second level.
“It’s incredible that a player who is very important for a club has to play in Malta and Cyprus, in Liechtenstein or Andorra.”