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Rudiger: Chelsea must let Hudson-Odoi be an 18-year-old

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German defender Antonio Rudiger has advised Chelsea to allow Callum Hudson-Odoi to be like any other 18-year-old instead of placing too much pressure on him.

The talented young winger had been heavily linked with a £35m transfer to Bayern Munich in the January transfer window and was understood to be keen on going to Germany.

This came following a lack of regular opportunities at Chelsea this season with Hudson-Odoi only tasting 74 minutes of Premier League action.

But a transfer to Bayern was blocked by Chelsea, who see the teenager as an integral part of their future plans and had no interest in allowing him to leave Stamford Bridge.

However, Rudiger feels the Blues have been too hard on a young Hudson-Odoi and backed him to become a key member of the squad in the upcoming years.

“That’s what he can become, yes,” Rudiger told Kicker.

“But he is 18 years old. And one should let him be 18. And do not pretend that he is 27 and already experienced everything.”

Now that the January transfer saga is behind them, Chelsea’s full focus has returned to their current campaign.

Maurizio Sarri’s side have a fight on their hands to hold on to fourth place in the Premier League with a resurgent Manchester United breathing down their necks, while London rivals Arsenal are also in contention.

The Blues will also face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup on February 24 and are still going strong in the FA Cup and Europa League.

But there have been blips at Chelsea this season following recent back-to-back defeats to Arsenal and Bournemouth, with the latter ending in a humiliating 4-0 loss.

“It’s up to us now. What happened against Bournemouth must not happen again,” said Rudiger.

“Our biggest shortcoming is that we lost consistency. We always want [it], but sometimes not a lot works out. We go blank a bit currently, but it’s no reason to talk everything down. I am not that kind of guy.

“For a long time, Chelsea had a defensive approach. And you can’t get used to something new overnight. Pep Guardiola’s first year wasn’t all that smooth as well.”

Chelsea’s inconsistency of late has raised doubts over Sarri’s long-term future at the club, despite only arriving from Napoli last summer.

“He’s a very emotional coach. But you can’t put everything down to motivation,” Rudiger said on Sarri.

“We have been there when it mattered. We were the first team to beat Manchester City after all. We must be tougher.

“By now, we have a lot of possession, but we need to get something dirty back in our game.”

Chelsea will take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday for their next league match.