Maurizio Sarri has said England winger Callum Hudson-Odoi will start one of Chelsea’s next two games, “probably” at home to Brighton in the Premier League on Wednesday.
Hudson-Odoi is yet to receive his first Premier League start and was an unused substitute in Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Cardiff on Sunday, despite impressing on his England debut against Montenegro last week — which Sarri claimed to have only watched 20 minutes of.
The 18-year-old has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge due to his lack of first team opportunities since the start of the season, with Bayern Munich having a £35 million move for the winger rejected in January.
However Sarri has said that the winger has proved that he is now ready make his first league start for the club, having been impressed with his development since the start of the season.
“After four or five training sessions I realised Callum was a player with very great potential,” Sarri told a news conference on Tuesday.
“In that moment he wasn’t ready to play at this level but during the season he has improved and is now ready to play, but I decided at the start of the season that he has to stay with us and I put him in the squad.
“I know very well Callum and I want him to improve more because the potential is there. Callum is always in my mind, in my opinion he is our future and now he is ready to play.”
The Italian then said that Hudson-Odoi will start one of Chelsea’s next two games, either against Brighton on Wednesday or at home to West Ham United next Monday.
“Probably he will start tomorrow or in the next match, but first I want to see the condition of all the players,” Sarri added. “The condition of Willian, Pedro, Eden [Hazard], all the wingers, but of course he is on my mind.”
Sarri was on the end of hostile chanting from sections of Chelsea’s away support while his side were behind against Cardiff.
The former Napoli boss said that he although he understood the criticism, he was not happy with hearing the chanting, adding that he believes Chelsea “are not doing so badly” during his first season in charge.
“I am not happy but I am not concerned,” Sarri said. “I can understand very well the frustrations but we are not doing so badly. We have won 33 games [in all competitions] and I think in England only Manchester City did better than us.”
Chelsea are in a four-way battle for the Premier League’s two remaining Champions League places, but have the most ground to make up as they are a point behind both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United and three behind Arsenal.
Sarri added that Marcos Alonso will miss the Brighton match with a hamstring injury and will be out for three or four days.