Antonio Rudiger has talked up the talents of Callum Hudson-Odoi, while insisting his Chelsea team-mate will want to prove a point against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Hudson-Odoi has found regular playing time at Stamford Bridge hard to come by under Frank Lampard this season.
The 19-year-old has featured in 29 games across all competitions, but only 13 of those have come as a starter and he has had to be content with a bit-part role since returning from lockdown in June.
Willian and Christian Pulisic have served as Chelsea’s first-choice wingers in the final portion of the domestic campaign, which saw Frank Lampard’s side secure a fourth-place Premier League finish and Champions League qualification.
Hudson-Odoi now finds himself in the same position he was in when Maurizio Sarri occupied the hot seat at Stamford Bridge and he was entertaining interest from Bayern amid a lack of first-team opportunities.
The teenager’s stock has dropped considerably since then but Rudiger has pointed out that he is still very much in the early stages of his career development.
The England international is in line for a rare appearance against Bayern in the Champions League last-16 second-leg tie on Saturday, and the pressure will be off at Allianz Arena as Chelsea look to overturn a 3-0 aggregate deficit.
“First of all Callum is a young guy and has loads of talent. In a game like this, not just because it’s Bayern Munich and there were a lot of talks and everything, he wants this type of game,” Rudiger told a pre-match press conference.
“That’s why you play football. For him, of course, he wants to prove a point.”
Asked if the Blues are determined to produce an improved display against Bayern in Germany after being dismantled at the Bridge in February, Rudiger responded: “This is what we want to do.
“The way they beat us in the first game, like I said before we’ll go out to show some pride.
“Also the situation that they have to more to lose than us – sometimes that can be an advantage.”
The Chelsea defender added on the small window to prepare for the 2020-21 season that the squad will have once their European journey ends: “It’s the same for everyone. We just need to adapt to it.
“It is not much of a holiday we are going to have. Then you have time until the first game of the Premier League.
“I don’t know when the first game is. We will have time to improve things.”