Callum Hudson-Odoi is now ready to start a Premier League game for Chelsea and may do so on Wednesday evening against Brighton, according to boss Maurizio Sarri.
The 18-year-old impressed in his full England debut in Montenegro last week but was once more on the bench when Chelsea laboured to a 2-1 win over Cardiff City on Sunday.
Blues fans chanted his name at Cardiff but he was left on the bench by the Italian. Hudson-Odoi has made 19 appearances for Chelsea this season and scored five goals but he is yet to start in the Premier League, a statistic that looks set to change when the Seagulls visit West London.
“In my opinion, he is our future,” said Sarri. “He will probably start [against Brighton] or in the next match.”
Hudson-Odoi was linked with a big-money move to Bayern Munich in the January transfer window. Sarri says he has been aware of the teenager’s talent since he arrived at Stamford Bridge last summer, but he has taken his time in pushing him into the starting team.
“I realised in pre-season that Callum was a player with very great potential,” he added. “But at that moment, he wasn’t ready to play at this level. During this season he has improved and now he’s ready to play.
“I know Callum very well. His potential is high and I want him to improve more.” Hudson-Odoi has come off the bench eight times in the Premier League this season so far.
Chelsea are 1.29 to beat Brighton, with Chris Hughton’s team 13.00 for the win and the draw priced at 5.25.