Sarri: Why Hudson-Odoi starting for England changes nothing

Date published: Saturday 30th March 2019 12:27

Maurizio Sarri is unperturbed by the fact that Callum Hudson-Odoi has started for England before making his full Premier League debut.

Hudson-Odoi impressed in the recent international break, making his England debut as a substitute against the Czech Republic before starting in the win over Montenegro.

The Chelsea winger forced an own goal in the first game before making quite the impression in the second, but the debate rages on as to whether he is playing enough at club level.

Sarri continues to defend his management of the teenager – although admitting to only watching a handful of Hudson-Odoi’s Montenegro performance might not endear him too much to disgruntled supporters.

“I saw only 20 minutes,” he said.

“This is because I had 14 players in the national teams and I had no time to watch 20 matches. So I saw the English national team only for 20-25 minutes, and Callum didn’t start very well in the first 20 minutes on the right. He did very well on the left, immediately.”

Asked whether it puts him in an awkward position to have a player make his first international start before his full Premier League debut, Sarri replied: “No, because I have not to play against Montenegro.

“The qualification for the European Championships, the level is really very low. It’s not the Premier League level.

“There are a lot of national teams with a very low level. I cannot understand why there is only one group; maybe it’s better to have the European Championship for the first level, and also for a second level.

“It’s incredible that a player who is very important for a club has to play in Malta and Cyprus, in Liechtenstein or Andorra.

“We have to play eight matches in 28 days, so I am sure Callum will start in two or three matches.

Premier League, Europa League… for me, it’s the same. I’m confident in him. He has started a lot of matches. Probably not in the Premier League but that’s by chance.

“In the squad we have Hazard, Willian, Pedro, so it’s not easy to start every match. Probably, in the near future, he will start in 75-80 per cent of matches.”

 

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