Arjen Robben Calls Callum Hudson-Odoi 'One of the Best in Europe'

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2019

FC Bayern Munich's Dutch forward Arjen Robben speaks at a press conference during their winter training camp at the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence in the Qatari capital Doha, on January 7, 2019. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)        (Photo credit should read KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)
KARIM JAAFAR/Getty Images

Callum Hudson-Odoi is "one of the best (young players) in Europe," according to Arjen Robben. The Bayern Munich winger talked up Hudson-Odoi amid growing links between the Chelsea youngster and the Bundesliga giants. 

Speaking to beIN Sports (h/t John Cross of the Daily Mirror), Robben appeared to encourage Hudson-Odoi to seize the opportunities coming his way: "You are better off getting your chance and if you get that chance then you have to take it."

Those opportunities may involve Bayern, with Die Roten credited with making numerous bids for the 18-year-old:

Robben believes being brave enough for a step up is vital for precocious talents:

"For young players, it's always the same. First, you have to take the big step to achieve it. Become a professional football player at the highest level, get into the first team, get your place.

"Then, second, which can be more important, what's sometimes missing is that you have to stay there. Staying there is often more difficult than actually becoming a footballer in the first place.

"You have to prove it, game after game, season after season and don't be happy. Don't just be happy when you achieve something little or small."

Robben was the creative catalyst for two title-winning sides at Chelsea.
Robben was the creative catalyst for two title-winning sides at Chelsea.ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

Robben knows a thing or two about seizing the chance to move up in his career. He moved to Chelsea from PSV Eindhoven in 2004 and helped the Blues win a pair of Premier League titles before joining Real Madrid three years later.

Robben was in Munich by 2009 and has been a mainstay of Bayern's success ever since. He scored the winning goal when Die Roten beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at Wembley Stadium to win the UEFA Champions League in 2013.

Ironically, signing Hudson-Odoi would likely be a move to help prepare Bayern for life without 34-year-old Robben. The teenager can also operate wide and has already showcased the pace, trickery and eye for a pass to thrive at the highest level.

It's why Bayern are keen but signing Hudson-Odoi is unlikely to be easy.

The player recently hinted he might stay and fight for his place at Stamford Bridge after assisting both goals in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round.

Hudson-Odoi is working to get more chances at Chelsea.
Hudson-Odoi is working to get more chances at Chelsea.Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Maurizio Sarri has been less than impressed by Bayern's pursuit of Hudson-Odoi. The Chelsea manager called it "not professional," per the Guardian's Ed Aarons.

Hudson-Odoi's potential is considerable, but Chelsea may have trouble making room for him. Established players Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro are the primary options on the wings.

Things are different in Munich, where the declining skills of Robben and 35-year-old Franck Ribery present an obvious opportunity for Hudson-Odoi to make his mark early.

He would join Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry to form a trio of youthful and versatile wide players capable of defining a new era at the Allianz Arena.

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