Calls for Hudson-Odoi to get more playing time have grown in recent months with the Blues thought to be at risk of losing the 18-year-old, with several leading European clubs said to be chasing the signature of a player whose contract runs out next summer.
For now, however, he is beginning to show his worth, and Hazard gave him due credit after a promising full league debut in which the England international bagged the assist for Chelsea’s first goal.
“Since day one he trained with us, he had great skills,” Hazard said after the game. “If he wants advice, I can teach him, but you know he has everything already.
“I think the guy was waiting to start a game in the Premier League, but he is ready. You can see the way he is taking the ball. He is playing with a lot of confidence.
“He is still young and can improve, of course, but he is already very good. I think he was happy to play today. You know when you are young you just play, and sometimes you try and miss, but the good thing is to give freshness in the team.
“I think Callum can play three games. He can run, he has the legs for 90 minutes. At 28 we are a bit tired at the end, but I think he is still young.
The Chelsea star admitted his young team-mate still has to improve, but added that the whole team will get behind him and help his development.
“As I said, he can still improve but he is in a good team to learn, and we are happy to help him,” Hazard explained.
“I told him if he stays humble at first, for me it is the best thing, to stay humble.”
“Work in training, score goals, and then be happy on the pitch. He can go very far.
Despite the praise, Hazard acknowledged that Chelsea’s depth makes it difficult for manager Maurizio Sarri to guarantee Hudson-Odoi regular starts.
“It is the decision of the manager,” he said. “Of course, when we are playing we want young players and also English players because we are in England. But we also have Willian, Pedro, me – we have not only two wingers, but we have four.
“But his time is coming. He played today. He will play a lot in the future.”
Wolves have smashed their transfer record to sign Raul Jimenez for a fee believed to be £32million.
The striker has made his loan from Benfica permanent and has penned a four-year deal at Molineux.
He is Wolves’ top scorer with 15 goals in all competitions having helped them to seventh in the Premier League and Sunday’s FA Cup semi final against Watford.
“I’m very happy for this permanent deal as I feel that being at Wolves suits me,” he told the club’s website. “I’ve enjoyed my time here.
“I want to make history here at the club. With my team-mates, I want to put the club back into the top places in the Premier League. I think we all want that and have that ambition.”
The 27-year-old has formed a dangerous partnership with Diogo Jota, with the pair involved in 16 goals and 10 assists out of the 27 goals Wolves have scored in the Premier League since the start of December.
Mexico international Jimenez spent three years with Benfica, netting 22 times in 101 games after joining from Atletico Madrid in 2015.
The signing of Jimenez takes Wolves’ spending to around £164million under owners Fosun and they have broken their transfer record five times.
Adama Traore and Jonny were the previous biggest deals at £18million after signing from Middlesbrough and Atletico respectively this season.
Wolves sporting director Kevin Thelwell said: “The impact Raul has made during his short time at the club has been fantastic and we’re delighted that he’ll be part of the club’s long-term future.
“From the second he walked through the door, he settled straight into the group.
“His goals in the Premier League and FA Cup have been vital to this season’s success and we’re looking forward to seeing him contribute even more during what will be an exciting end to the season in both competitions.
“Raul’s permanent signing shows the ambition of this football club and the determination to make sure the future is an exciting one.”
Chelsea built on their 2-1 win over Cardiff City with a commanding 3-0 win over Brighton. Oliver Giroud, Eden Hazard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored for the hosts but the focus was on young Callum Hudson-Odoi, the prodigy who was handed his first start in the Premier League this season.
The Englishman’s talent is no secret and he has been linked with German giants Bayern Munich for quite some time now. With the transfer ban in place, the London-based club can’t afford to lose him and might hence need to start him more often.
We take a look at how he performed in his full debut in the Premier League.
Shots (on target): 2 (1)
Passes (Success rate): 65 (92%)
Dribbles (completed): 2 (1)
Hudson-Odoi enjoyed a lively full debut in the Premier League. The right flank was reeking of energy and his presence accounted for majority of it.
The 18-year-old bagged an assist after he left Anthony Knockaert in his wake to set up Giroud with a low cross. But in theory, he could have bagged a couple more of those, especially when his pin-point cross found Cesar Azpilicueta’s head in the box. Unfortunately, the header failed to make justice to the cross.
The Englishman had a great game and did not display any noticeable flaws. He was confident with his passing and was crucial in build-up.
Passing: Hudson-Odoi was extremely lucid with his passing. There were no signs of half-minded passes, lazy under-hit passes or signs of selfishness from the youngster. This attribute is crucial for a player to be integrated in Maurizio Sarri’s system and it’s definitely fair to say that the 18-year-old did justice to the manager’s decision to start him.
At the same time, he Englishman wasn’t exactly conservative or passive with his passing. He was not afraid to show ambition and took matters into his own hands whenever required. The four key-passes he delivered reflects the confidence in him to be creative and assert himself on the opposition.
Movement: The 18-year-old showed great maturity through his movements. His link-up with Jorginho could turn out to be a huge advantage for Chelsea, should the youngster choose to stay at the club.
Hudson-Odoi was reading the Italian’s passes impressively and getting into the right positions. He also kept an eye on Azpilicueta’s overlaps and did well to drift inside and provide options in the half-space whenever the right-back stretched the field. The fact that all these movements were in almost perfect synchronisation is impressive.
Hudson-Odoi justified all the hype surrounding him and also raised questions as to why he has had to wait so long for his first Premier League start.
It was a solid all-round performance by the winger and he barely hardly put a foot wrong. However, there is a minor cause of worry for Chelsea. Hudson-Odoi is a player who likes to be as involved as possible, drop deep, carry the ball and take players on. This description could also fit another similar, but an established world class player on the other wing – Hazard.
As we have learnt from the case of Lionel Messi and Paulo Dybala at Argentina or Messi and Philippe Coutinho at Barcelona, two kings can’t rule a kingdom. The prospect usually fades away.
Of course, this is just a cautious speculation and there is a chance that one of them or both don’t stay at the club past the coming summer. But it’s definitely something for Sarri to think about.
However, this does not take anything away from the spectacular debut that the Englishman enjoyed against Brighton.
Stats from whoscored.com