It was only back in January that I wrote a column telling Callum Hudson-Odoi to have a little patience
But Gareth Southgate’s belief in Chelsea’s boy wonder has now forced Maurizio Sarri’s hand, the time for waiting is over.
Now I’m not being critical of Sarri’s management of Hudson-Odoi, not many 18-year-olds have made much of an impact on the first team like Hudson-Odoi.
Sarri has given him opportunities to impress in Europa League games and he’s made some substitute appearances in the Premier League.
These appearances are what’s helped Southgate to include Hudson-Odoi in his England squad.
Hudson-Odoi is yet to start a Premier League game for Chelsea, but this must change after making his England debut against the Czech Republic in their opening 2020 European Champions qualifying campaign.
England manager Southgate has rejuvenated this England team, picking players on form and not reputation.
Not being afraid to promote youngsters, many of whom he knows from his time in charge of the England U21s.
On Friday night, England finished their 5-0 victory with Hudson-Odoi and Jadon Sancho on the wings. Just 18 months ago, the pair shared the pitch in England’s U17 World Cup victory.
That is a true testament to the FA’s long term plan and Southgate’s management.
His inclusion of Hudson-Odoi however, must change the way that Sarri wants to bring him through.
With many top European teams sniffing around the youngster, he now has to start.
When asked, Southgate was clear that “he’s ready”, and it showed with an impressive performance, demanding the ball, taking players on and forcing an own goal when his shot rebounded in off of former blue Tomas Kalas.
Hudson-Odoi has already handed in his transfer request due to interest from Bayern Munich, but with enough game time, the club can prove that his future lies at Stamford Bridge.
No more can Sarri say that he still needs to improve his defensive aspect of his game, or that he can’t drop one of Willian or Pedro.
Willian and Pedro are now both the wrong side of 30, in terms of Chelsea’s contract offers, and neither have provided consistency in their performances to merit a permanent place in the side.
Why wouldn’t we give the opportunity to somebody who could become a key player in our team for the next 10 years and more?
Hudson-Odoi, with the help of his first England cap, has forced his way to the front.
We risk losing the brightest academy prospect we’ve created in the Roman Abramovich era because we can’t give them a proper run of games in the Premier League.
Sarri finds himself in a win win situation now if he starts Hudson-Odoi. The supporters, who on the whole want Sarri to leave, are calling for him to play, so he can get them onside.
And it doesn’t really matter if we fail to reach the top four, as long as we, as expected, win the Europa League.
That way, we have Champions League football, and we have a proper case to show Hudson-Odoi that the club mean what they say, because actions speak louder than words.