Former Arsenal striker turned pundit John Hartson expects Frank Lampard to trust Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi to play a big role at the West London outfit, as told to Football FanCast.
The two-time England winger scored in his season debut (TransferMarkt) as part of the Blues side which beat Grimsby Town in the Carabao Cup, and featured from the bench in the Premier League on Saturday as a second-half substitute for Pedro against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Hudson-Odoi’s first minutes of the campaign come after the London-born forward saw his breakthrough season cut short with an Achilles tendon rupture, having made 24 outings under Maurizio Sarri and being involved in ten goals (five scored, five assisted) across all competitions last term.
His efforts and rise to prominence at Stamford Bridge sparked severe interest from Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich, who saw their efforts to sign Hudson-Odoi in January rejected despite the teenager handing in a transfer request after the Bavarian side presented a £35million offer (Telegraph).
Bayern returned to West London in the summer looking to strike a deal, as well, and placed a £22.5m bid (Guardian), but Hudson-Odoi stayed put and later penned a new, five-year contract worth up to £180,000-a-week (Goal).
Now fit, Hartson expects Hudson-Odoi to land a key role in Lampard’s plans, and feels Chelsea will want to see ‘big things’ from their academy product.
“He got a big-money move turned down from Bayern Munich. They made a massive, massive play for him. But Chelsea stood firm, dug their heels in and now he’s signed a new contract,” Hartson told Football FanCast.
“When Hudson-Odoi does come back he’s definitely going to have more opportunities. They really like him there, they’ve given him a new, five-year contract and big things will be expected of him as well.”
Providing Hudson-Odoi can prove his fitness to Lampard and show that he is ready for a starting role in the Chelsea boss’ plans, there is no reason not to expect the 18-year-old will be handed a prominent role in the not too distant future.
Lampard has so far not seen enough from mega-money arrival Cristian Pulisic to feel the American is ready for a big role at Stamford Bridge (Metro), while the experienced duo of Willian and Pedro are yet to really kick into gear this term.
In his three Premier League outings so far, former Barcelona man Pedro has only averaged 3 key passes per ninety minutes, as he continues to look to play the ball short – only six of his 107 passes have been chalked as long balls by WhoScored.
Willian, meanwhile, has scored one goal from ten shots in his six league outings, and has lost possession through unsuccessful touches seven times while again keeping things short with 11 long balls amid 165 passes, leading to one key ball.
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