One of Chelsea’s main candidates to take on the captain’s armband full time this season has spoken of his confidence that young starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi will become a very important player for the club.
Speaking on Wednesday morning, Cesar Azpilicueta believes that “It’s important to have a connection between the academy and the first team.”
Hudson-Odoi’s Chelsea future remains in the balance, with the 18-year old moving into his last contracted year as a Chelsea player. Although there are reports stating that he is still ‘very likely’ to sign a new 5-year contract with Chelsea, within the next few weeks.
Azpilicueta is the latest Chelsea man to publicly encourage the young winger to stay at the club and become an important player at Stamford Bridge.
“For Callum, obviously this season is a massive opportunity. He was getting a lot of minutes before his unlucky injury and now I’m sure when he’ll be back he’ll be a very important player for Chelsea.”
The path from the academy into the first team has often felt like an impossible one to take over recent years, and it must be like looking to climb a very steep mountain for some of the youngsters hoping to get that chance.
But Azpilicueta feels that this season, that path might be a little less impossible.
“It’s a strength [the academy] and we can get better not only by having more players into the first team but also the coaches, the systems. So when the players do come to the first team, it’s easy for them.”
There are many other players as well as Hudson-Odoi who will be hoping to make that transition this season, and Azpilicueta believes the club are lucky to have some of them:
“I think the feeling from all the boys when they start at Chelsea is that it’s a tough academy to get into first team.
“But Mason, Ruben, Callum, we have to be proud of them. It’s not an easy path but they got in the first team. This desire and will to perform is a great example for all the young lads out there in the academy.”