By 90Min
March 19, 2019

Callum Hudson-Odoi has been called up to the England senior squad from the Under-21s following an injury to Chelsea teammate Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but can the youngster now go on to make a real impact with the Three Lions?

The 18-year-old winger has yet to start for Chelsea in the Premier League this season after manager Maurizio Sarri claimed that he would only be a 'top' player by the age of 23. Having been given the opportunity to represent his country at senior level, Hudson-Odoi can use the international platform as a chance to put his name up in lights and prove the Chelsea manager wrong. 

Responding to the news about his call-up, the promising forward admitted he was shocked when speaking to BBC Sport, saying: "I was shocked and then when I heard that I actually had to go over, I couldn't believe it."

PAUL ELLIS/GettyImages

No doubt the senior call-up is one of the biggest moments of his short career so far, but how has the teenager performed this season? 

In the current Premier League campaign Hudson-Odoi has been afforded little opportunity, having not started a single match for the Blues despite their poor season. Sitting in sixth position, Sarri has not given him a proper chance to show his ability in Chelsea's attack which has not been fluid or firing consistently in every match. His six appearances in the league have led to a total of just 119 minutes played despite fellow winger Willian only scoring three goals in 27 appearances. 

As a result of the lack of matches in the league, Hudson-Odoi was subject to a big transfer saga in January. German giants Bayern Munich were reportedly heavily interested in signing the teenager and after he handed in a transfer request, Chelsea rejected a £35m bid from the five time Champions League winners. 

However, the young English star has shone in Chelsea's Europa League campaign, impressing consistently as the tournament has progressed. Scoring four goals and assisting twice in eight matches has led to pressure on Sarri to consider him for selection in the league. Fans of the youngster will be hoping that he retains his place in the Europa League lineup throughout the quarter final legs and potentially further if Chelsea reach the latter stages.

Gareth Southgate has been much more positive than Sarri towards the winger. Rather than dismissing the young prospect because of his lack of minutes in the Premier League, the England manager has continued to honour his philosophy of providing young players with opportunities at senior international level. 

If the winger makes his debut he will become the eighth youngest player to represent the Three Lions and must handle the pressure that comes with it. However, the youngster showed his maturity when he responded to what was required of him following the call-up. 

"Now I've got to work hard, enjoy every moment and keep working to just hopefully make an impact when I get the opportunity," he said, speaking to Sky Sports.

England are set to host the Czech Republic before travelling to Montenegro three days later for the opening of the Euro 2020 qualifying matches. Should Hudson-Odoi get the opportunity to play, fans and Southgate will be expecting to see his skilful dribbling and pace help the team as he links up with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford.

If the youngster does go on to make a big statement at such a young age, not only will it heap more praise on Southgate but it will be another thing Sarri has got wrong in his first season.

What will trouble Sarri even more is that a top performance from the teenager could even force the Chelsea board's hand in dismissing the Italian manager, amidst their current review of the Blues' season.

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