For Chelsea fans, trophies and success are, naturally, the main goal – but developing homegrown talent isn’t too far behind in terms of importance to the Stamford Bridge faithful.
The Blues have struggled to make much of an impact in that regard over the years, with managers often preferring to sign older, more experienced players instead of utilising the youth.
Maurizio Sarri has been no different, and that’s frustrating, given that Chelsea have some incredible young players within their ranks.
Chelsea are set to return to the Europa League this evening, and thus far Sarri has been hesitant to afford many opportunities to young players. However, tonight, he has the perfect opportunity to give Chelsea fans what they want – by giving a chance to Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Sarri has already confirmed that Hazard will miss the game through injury, and that leaves Chelsea without a naturally left-sided regular first team player. Both Willian and Pedro are better the right – and so Callum Hudson-Odoi would be a brilliant choice. He’d be able to make use of his quality that made him such a hit over the summer during pre-season to replicate the influence of Eden Hazard.
Both Pedro and Willian have both played a lot of football this season, and so it doesn’t make sense to play them again when Hudson-Odoi is so clearly in need of a chance.
He’s outgrown the Chelsea academy, and with Hazard out, he’s never going to get a better chance.
What’s the worst that could happen? Chelsea have a 100% record in the competition, and so a draw or even a loss wouldn’t be the end of the world – not that Hudson-Odoi coming in would increase the chance of that happening in any significant way. During the summer, he was Chelsea’s best player – and he deserves his chance.
A lack of youth focus has been the main negative of Sarri’s record at Chelsea so far – and it’s time for him to change that, and if he does, Chelsea fans will love him even more.