English Premiership

Zola defends Chelsea's treatment of Hudson-Odoi

2019-02-15 21:56
Callum Hudson-Odoi
Callum Hudson-Odoi (Getty Images)

London - Gianfranco Zola insists Chelsea haven't neglected Callum Hudson-Odoi despite the teenage starlet's lack of first-team opportunities this season.

Hudson-Odoi reportedly handed in a transfer request last month following a £35 million offer from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

The 18-year-old, whose contract expires in 2020, was disillusioned by his treatment since Maurizio Sarri took charge as Chelsea manager in the close-season.

Hudson-Odoi has rarely featured under Sarri despite some eye-catching performances in pre-season, but Chelsea blocked his hopes of a move to Bayern by refusing to sell him.

Since the transfer window shut on January 13, the English winger has been restricted to just 19 minutes of action and is still awaiting his first Premier League start.

But Chelsea assistant manager Zola is adamant Hudson-Odoi is appreciated by the west London club, while pointing out that few players of his tender age regularly represent Europe's top clubs.

Asked if Chelsea' coaching staff had a sense of urgency to make the player feel valued in the aftermath of Bayern's interest, Zola replied: "I disagree on that. He's always on the edge of the team.

"As soon as there is an opportunity, he plays. Sometimes from the beginning. Sometimes he comes on.

"The manager is giving him plenty of reasons to feel involved and wanted. I want to stress this out: there aren't many 18-year-olds in Europe playing as many games as he is. There might be one or two.

"He's playing. And, on top of that, he's a player we appreciate and we believe is growing up."

Zola believes Hudson-Odoi still has plenty of room to develop and would be helped by staying at Chelsea to learn from fellow wide-men Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro.

"He has a bright future in this club, the whole coaching group like him," he said.

"Please, you need to understand that he's surrounded by top players. You have to work hard to be better than them, and that's what we want.

"We want him to play but also keep improving. He can still do better than he's doing."

Chelsea bounced back from last weekend's 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City by securing a narrow 2-1 Europa League victory in Malmo on Thursday.

However, Sarri's position remains in doubt, with the Blues facing a crucial run of fixtures following a miserable run in the Premier League that included a 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City and a 4-0 humiliation at Bournemouth.

Monday's FA Cup fifth round tie with Manchester United is followed by Thursday's Europa League last-32 second leg with Malmo and the League Cup final against City on February 24.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Saturday, 30 March 2019
Fulham v Manchester City, Craven Cottage 14:30
Leicester City v AFC Bournemouth, King Power Stadium 17:00
Manchester United v Watford, Old Trafford 17:00
Crystal Palace v Huddersfield Town, Selhurst Park 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Southampton, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Burnley v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Turf Moor 17:00
West Ham United v Everton, London Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 31 March 2019
Cardiff City v Chelsea, Cardiff City Stadium 15:05
Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur, Anfield 17:30
Monday, 01 April 2019
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 21:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2018/19 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.