The England manager has tried to get inside the head of his Chelsea counterpart with his comments about a particular player
This is what former England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright believes after Chelsea starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi got his first call up to the senior England squad earlier this week for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro, with the teenager making a 20-minute substitute appearance against the former and impressing by forcing an own goal with his run and shot.
That was despite the 18-year-old winger not being handed even one start in the Premier League over his short career so far, including by new Blues manager Maurizio Sarri this term. It has to also be remembered that Hudson-Odoi was the subject of strong transfer interest from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich this January, with Chelsea having to turn down several bids for the academy graduate. However, that has not seen the U-17 World Cup winner’s game time increase by any stretch of the imagination.
Gareth Southgate, meanwhile, has been full of praise for Hudson-Odoi after seeing him in training this week. He even claimed that the youngster was ready to start against Czech Republic, although eventually he had to happy with a place on the bench. “I know a lot has been said about what’s the selection policy, is it on form or capability,” Southgate said.
“In the end, the players have to have the quality to play in this shirt. Ideally you’d have them all playing regularly and ideally they’d have a certain number of games for their clubs but I can’t wait for clubs to pick players 50 or 100 times. That’s not the landscape we’re operating in.”
Wright is of the opinion that Southgate has sent a clear message to Sarri, pointedly asking the Italian to start playing Hudson-Odoi more regularly hereon. “I think when we watched him in the Under-17s when they won the World Cup, he was one of the outstanding players,” Wright said on ITV.
“I think that listening to Gareth Southgate about he’s ready and how impressive he’s been and he’s got no problem bringing him in, he looks like an international, I thought: ‘That’s a message, that’s a message back saying how is this guy not playing?’.
“A message back to Chelsea, a message back to the manager of Chelsea. You look at him and he’s ready to go. He’s ready to go, Bayern Munich are showing that, he’s ready to go. Why isn’t he playing?”
Hudson-Odoi definitely impressed during his cameo against a hapless Czech side, and has been doing so whenever he has gotten the opportunity for Chelsea as well, most prominently in the Europa League, where he has notched 4 goals and 2 assists over 413 minutes played, which equates to an astonishing goal involvement every 69-odd minutes! If he is to improve and reach the kind of potential he has displayed, then he will need to get more regular game time, and if Chelsea cannot provide that, then they would do well to let him go or loan him out so he gets that exposure elsewhere.