This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Imagine making your international debut for England at the age of just 18.
Arguably the biggest moment in your career so far, and definitely one of the most significant events in your life, right?
Well, when Callum Hudson-Odoi did just that against Montenegro last term, Maurizio Sarri didn’t seem too interested or congratulatory to the teenager.
The Italian admitted to watching just 20 minutes of the game, and went on to play it down by saying that the quality of Hudson-Odoi’s opposition was ‘really very low’ and ‘not Premier League level’.
Could Frank Lampard’s inexperience cost Chelsea next season. One Derby fan explains why it will in the video below…
Sarri never really seemed interested in Hudson-Odoi and Jake Heasmen of The Sun believes it was the former Napoli boss’ fault for the young winger wanting out of Chelsea last term – he handed in a transfer request at one point.
Some of the Blues fans definitely weren’t on Sarri’s side throughout the whole situation.
CHO handed in a transfer request because it took Sarri 6 months to play him every now and then when we were so dire going forward the entire season. CHO and RLC are both loved by the fans.
— Lewis (@TittleTan_z) July 7, 2019
Frank just says all the right things. Big upgrade from Sarri saying he only saw 20 minutes of CHO’s international debut and thought he played badly
— Ross (@rossthecfc) July 4, 2019
Sarri almost made us lose CHO! Only played him because He had his pants pulled down by CHO
— Aamer (@aamernt) July 4, 2019
The only acadamy player that played more Premier League minutes than last season was CHO and he had to submit a transfer request for that.
Also, not a single acadamy player got a first team debut under Sarri.
— Abinash (@abnas106) July 2, 2019
Sarri gone and Cho signing a new deal I love it https://t.co/BY2wiOmyaM
— ChelseaFC ??? (@G10Chelsea) July 3, 2019
In stark contrast, new Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has spoken very highly of Hudson-Odoi and sought to assure him that he is a key part of his plans at Stamford Bridge.
The club’s record goalscorer said: “I will pay a lot of care and attention to Callum, because of the contractual position he is in, to try to get him to stay and not with any lies or any false statements to him.
‘I know what a player he is and I think he can be an incredible player and he has improvement to make and I want to work with him to do it, but for that he needs to stay longer at the club. That of course goes to a decision between him and the club and I am not involved in the financial negotiations, but I can certainly tell him how I see it and I see him being a huge player for us.”
The Chelsea supporters seemingly love their youth players and are desperate to see more of them judging by their Hudson-Odoi related tweets above, so Lampard has already gotten off on the right foot in saying what they will want to hear about the academy graduate.
Young players need to be given confidence and game time, something that Hudson-Odoi wasn’t really given by Sarri until he forced his hand with the transfer request – the Italian had the winger on the bench for an away game against Cardiff immediately after he earned his first England cap.
It never seemed like Sarri liked Hudson-Odoi, but Lampard’s comments are a breath of fresh air in comparison to the Italian.