Chelsea winger Willian Borges has earmarked Ghanaian prodigy Callum Hudson-Odoi to become ‘one of the best players’ in the world over the next few seasons.
The 18-year-old, who has struggled for game time this season, was finally given a chance to impress by Maurizio Sarri and he didn’t disappoint looking dangerous throughout and scoring his first ever goal for the Blues.
Chelsea went on to win against PAOK with Olivier Giroud netting twice as well as Alvaro Morata in the 4-0 victory.
But Blues fans took to social media to talk about the impressive Hudson-Odoi and told Sarri he needs to give the teenager more opportunities.
However, the youngster could be heading to the exit as clubs such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich, RB Liepzig and Arsenal are on his heels after he rejected a new contract.
‘Of course,’ replied Willian, when asked if Chelsea needed to keep hold of Hudson-Odoi.
The Under-17 World Cup winner is yet to feature in the Premier League this season and has had to watch on while fellow England youngsters Jadon Sancho, on loan at Borussia Dortmund, and Mason Mount have all received senior call-ups by Gareth Southgate in reward for their impressive form for their clubs.
Maurizio Sarri handed Hudson-Odoi his first start in the Europa League dead-rubber against PAOK but while Hudson-Odoi marked it with a goal in a dazzling performance, the Chelsea boss said the young winger is still not ready to feature in the Premier League ahead of this afternoon’s clash with Fulham.
Willian seemed to disagree: ‘We know he has great quality. We knew already before that he can come easy and play for Chelsea. He is only 18. I think he has time to learn, time to play. For sure he will be one of the best players.
‘He has the potential. He has talent, he has everything to become in the future one of the best players. Now it’s early to say that. But maybe in five years we can see.
‘Sometimes it’s difficult. Because you want to show everything in one game. You want to take the ball, want to dribble, want to shoot, want to run, want to everything as much as possible to show your quality, to show everything. Sometimes you make mistakes in that but you have time to learn. He is only 18 and I think he has a lot of time to learn.’
Hudson-Odoi is not the only one who Sarri wants to learn. The Chelsea boss held one-to-one meetings with his entire team after the 3-1 defeat to Tottenham last weekend that left Sarri’s side seven points behind leaders Man City.
Sarri even singled out N’Golo Kante for public criticism despite the midfielder recently having signed a £300,000-a-week contract.
Willian, who admitted he is happy that Chelsea now ‘have a manager that wants to play football’ in an apparent dig at former boss Antonio Conte, believes they all need to improve but insists the Premier League title race is not over yet, although Chelsea can afford no further slip-ups.
‘Always in football you have to improve. Not only N’Golo, but every single player has to improve.
‘Not in Premier League, no (the title race is not over). I think we have to win every game. We cannot lose points any more.’