Cesar Azpilicueta has tipped Callum Hudson-Odoi to become a “key player” under new Chelsea manager Frank Lampard.
Hudson-Odoi is currently recovering from an achilles injury and continues to be linked with a move to Bayern Munich.
Will Hudson-Odoi become a key player for Chelsea? Five things to know…
- Hudson-Odoi broke into the Chelsea team in the second half of last season.
- The 18-year-old was linked with Bayern before making an impression in the Chelsea first-team.
- His form earned him a call-up to the England squad but his season was ended by an achilles injury.
- Eden Hazard’s exit and the club’s transfer ban should give Hudson-Odoi more opportunities to impress.
- New manager Lampard hopes the young winger will sign a new contract with the club.
The teenager will be competing with new signing Christian Pulisic for a place in Lampard’s line-up this term.
But Azpilicueta believes all of Chelsea’s young players will be given the chance to impress under the new regime.
“It is important to have a connection between the players in the first team and the academy,” Azpilicueta told Sky Sports.
“We can be better and stronger by having these players in the first team but also with the coaches working with a system so when the players come in it is easier for them [to adapt].
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“For Callum, it is a massive chance to become a key player for Chelsea. He was getting plenty of minutes before his unlucky injury. Now I am sure that when he recovers well he will be important when he is back.
“The feeling and desire is there from all of the boys when they start at Chelsea, it is a tough academy to get through. Mason (Mount), Ruben (Loftus-Cheek) and Callum are all players that we have to be proud of and they are setting a good example for the other young lads starting their careers.”
Azpilicueta went on to talk up Chelsea’s academy, suggesting young players are being handed more opportunities than they used to at the club.
He added: “The most experienced players have to help the young players coming in.
“We are lucky we have the best academy in England and it is true that maybe in recent years we haven’t seen a lot of youngsters coming into the first team and getting minutes on the pitch.
“Last year Callum, Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] and Andreas [Christensen] started to get minutes. Now with the transfer ban, we have seen in pre-season already, they have more chances to break in.
“They have Frank and all his staff who they have already been working with for quite a long time.
“Our role is to make them feel comfortable, to let them express the quality that they have shown in the youth system. I am convinced this is the way to move forward.”