Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta has backed winger Callum Hudson-Odoi to impress this season as Frank Lampard prepares to give him a chance in the first team.
The 18-year-old was made to wait for a first team chance by former boss Maurizio Sarri, but Lampard is willing to throw his faith behind him. Lampard wants the midfielder to sign a new contract, with Bayern Munich already having four bids rejected since January.
Hudson-Odoi has already rejected a new deal at Stamford Bridge and reports claim the England international is no closer to agreeing terms. Despite the uncertainty surrounding his future, Azpilicueta is adamant he will shine once he returns from an Achilles injury.
“Yes, we [senior players] do [talk to the youngsters]” the Spaniard told Sky Sports News. “It is important to have a connection between the players in the first team and the academy. 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].
“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 others young lads starting their careers.”