Premier League

Maurizio Sarri refusing to bow to Chelsea fans’ pressure over Callum Hudson-Odoi

‘I’m not a coach of the fans’: Maurizio Sarri refusing to bow to pressure of Chelsea supporters but insists he will give Callum Hudson-Odoi time

  • Maurizio Sarri has refused to accelerate the progression of Callum Hudson-Odoi 
  • The Italian has however suggested the 18-year-old will soon be starting matches 
  • Hudson-Odoi made his first senior England start away against Montenegro 
  • Sarri has called for FIFA to allow managers to take off teams after racist abuse 

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has refused to accelerate the progression of the promising Callum Hudson-Odoi and insists he will not cede to demands by supporters.

‘I’m not the coach of the fans,’ Sarri said, when it was suggested the fans are desperate for the 18-year-old to start.

‘We have to play eight matches in 28 days, and so I am sure that Callum will start in two or three matches.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has refused to accelerate the progression of Callum Hudson-Odoi

Hudson-Odoi is yet to make a Premier League start for Chelsea but is attracted attention

Hudson-Odoi is yet to make a Premier League start for Chelsea but is attracted attention

‘It’s not a problem for me to put him in the starting XI in a Premier League match. He’s ready. But of course I can play with only two wingers. 

‘In the squad we have Hazard, Willian, Pedro, so it’s not really very easy to start in every match here. Probably, in the near future, he will start in 75-80 per cent of matches.

‘I know very well the situation because, in the last season, Callum was only 17 and he played three or four matches, I think. In this season, he is really very young – only 18 – but, at the moment, he has played for…. I don’t remember exactly, but 19 or 20 matches. So I think the evolution is the right evolution. Probably, he will play 30-35 matches in the next season. And so I think that, with Callum, we are on the right path.’

Sarri admitted he only saw a short part of Hudson-Odoi’s starring role for England.

‘No, only 20 minutes,’ Sarri said. ‘Because I had 14 players in the national teams, and I had no time to watch 20 matches. So I saw the English national team only for 20-25 minutes, and Callum didn’t start very well in the first 20 minutes on the right. 

Sarri has pointed to the likes of the experienced Willian as to why Hudson-Odoi does not start

Sarri has pointed to the likes of the experienced Willian as to why Hudson-Odoi does not start

The Italian has refused to cede to demands by supporters regarding the 18-year-old

The Italian has refused to cede to demands by supporters regarding the 18-year-old

‘He did very well on the left, immediately. The first time he went to the left. But I know him very well, and I know he prefers to play on the left.’

Sarri has also called for the Premier League and FIFA to introduce clear rules that allow managers to take their teams off the pitch in the event of racist chanting.

Hudson-Odoi was subjected to racist chants during Chelsea’s 5-0 Europa League win at Dynamo Kiev and then in England’s 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifying match in Montenegro.

Chelsea are offering Hudson-Odoi counselling and Sarri now wants the governing bodies to set clear guidelines to stop matches.

Current FIFA guidelines outline a three-step plan that would include tannoy announcements and a decision by the referee as to whether suspend games.

Sarri said: ‘I don’t like to speak to Callum about this problem because, unfortunately, I am not able to solve it. In every country there are some stupid people, I think. So it’s a big problem. I think that we need to do something different. Probably it’s right to stop the match for 10 minutes at the first situation.

Hudson-Odoi made his first England start against Montenegro, but received abuse from racists

Hudson-Odoi made his first England start against Montenegro, but received abuse from racists

‘We need a rule, I think. A rule for the Premier League, but for all the championships across football. A rule that can permit us to stop the match.

‘Of course he is very young. But I think that he is really very strong. The character is really very strong. I saw him very well yesterday. So I think that he’s strong enough.”

Chelsea return to Premier League action against Cardiff on Sunday and Hudson-Odoi is hoping for a first league start after making his competitive England debut in Montenegro.

Hudson-Odoi is currently refusing to sign a new contract at Chelsea amid interest from Bayern Munich and Manchester United. His contract is set to expire in the summer of 2020 but Sarri insisted Chelsea believe he will remain at Stamford Bridge this summer.

Sarri said: ‘I think so. I’m not able to say if he’s going to sign a new contract or not, but I think he will stay here with us in every case.’ 

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