Gianfranco Zola defends Callum Hudson-Odoi’s treatment at Chelsea by the management staff
Chelsea assistant manager Gianfranco Zola defends the treatment Callum Hudson-Odoi is getting and says he is being given more first-team opportunities than any other 18-year-olds around Europe.
The teenage winger is yet to start a game for the Blues and was limited to six playing minutes in the Europa League game against Malmo on Thursday.
He handed in a transfer request in the January transfer window when Bayern Munich were vehemently interested in him and also made a £35m. However, the offer was turned down by Chelsea.
Talking to the media ahead of their FA Cup tie against Manchester United, Zola rejected the claims that the coaching staff should be doing to make the player feel more valued.
The Italian said: “Sorry but I disagree with this. He is always on the edge of the team.
“As soon as there is an opportunity he plays, sometimes from the beginning. The manager is giving plenty of reasons for him to feel involved and wanted.
“There are not many 18-year-olds at top clubs in Europe who are playing as much as him. On top of that, he is a player that we appreciate and believe is growing up.
“He has a bright future at this club. All of the coaching group likes him. You need to understand he is surrounded by top players and you have to work hard to be better than them.”
Chelsea have a fifth round FA Cup tie against Manchester United on Monday, before they play the final of the Carabao Cup against Manchester City next Sunday.