Former Chelsea goalkeeper Rob Green admits Maurizio Sarri’s reluctance to offer Callum Hudson-Odoi left senior stars at Stamford Bridge asking: ‘How is he not playing?!’
A talented academy graduate forced his way into the first-team fold during the 2018-19 campaign.
His potential was clear for all to see, but an Italian coach in west London was initially reluctant to hand the teenager a regular role.
That led to serious questions being asked of Hudson-Odoi’s future, with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich making efforts to lure him to Germany during the January transfer window.
Frank Lampard’s arrival as Sarri’s successor has further aided the cause of a forward who has fully recovered from a serious Achilles injury, with a more prominent role now being enjoyed.
That comes as no surprise to Green, with the ex-England shot-stopper telling Radio 5 Live of his early experience of Hudson-Odoi: “We were in the dressing room last season and the players were saying 'how is he not playing?'
“He was going out in training and tearing some of the best defenders in the world apart. He was consistently the best in training.
“It was to the point where some of the best players in the world were standing there applauding what he was doing.”
Green believes that Hudson-Odoi is now destined to reach the very top of the game, with the 18-year-old boasting both the ability and self-confidence to go as far as he wants.
“He has got such a brilliant mind and he is so confident. When he goes out there he will try things and he will try it on the biggest stage,” said a man who spent two years with Chelsea before hanging up his gloves over the summer.
“He will do something and you will ask him: 'When have you done that? Why did you do that?'
“He would say 'because I've never done it before and I thought I'd try it.'
“You knew from the way he spoke and the way he is around the lads, the way he holds himself and obviously his ability, he is going to be at Chelsea for as long as he wants to be and then, maybe, on to greater things.”