Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has urged patience with Callum Hudson-Odoi as the winger is eased back into first-team contention at Stamford Bridge.
The highly-rated youngster has only featured from the bench since recovering from a hamstring injury last month, with the fine form of Christian Pulisic and Willian restricted the 19-year-old to cameo appearances in recent weeks.
It’s proven to be a frustrating campaign so far for the academy graduate, who only made his return from a serious Achilles injury sustained in April during the opening weeks of the season.
Hudson-Odoi was strongly linked with a move away from the club in recent months though committed his future to Chelsea by signing a new long-term deal, and Lampard has urged patience by insisting the England international’s best is yet to come.
“His best is to come,” Lampard told his pre-match press conference.
“He’s just turned 19. He’s in a real early stage of his development and come back from a really serious injury. I’ve had to manage that with him, and we have real competition in wide areas.
“He’s going to get better and better. He has to apply himself in training every day, has to show when he comes on what he can do and bring to the table if he’s going to start more games. For sure he will do that, but we’ve got to be steady with Callum.”
Chelsea travel to Merseyside to face Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime, the Blues looking to continue their push towards a top four finish.
By contrast, this weekend’s opponents have slipped into the relegation places following Wednesday night’s defeat at Liverpool, the club currently without a permanent manager after sacking Marco Silva this week.