Gareth Southgate: Callum Hudson-Odoi 'Maturing' at Chelsea Amid Bayern Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2019

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 24: Gareth Southgate, Manager of England (L) and Callum Hudson-Odoi look on during the England Training Session at St Georges Park on March 24, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

England manager Gareth Southgate believes Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi is "maturing well" at his club amid speculation linking him with a move to Bayern Munich.

According to David Hytner of the Guardian, the Blues rejected both a transfer request from the player and a £35 million bid from the German giants in January. Given Hudson-Odoi's contract is poised to expire at the end of the 2019-20 season, rumours about his future are unlikely to cease.

Speaking after Hudson-Odoi made his senior debut for the Three Lions on Friday, Southgate said he thinks the winger's development is on a positive trajectory with the Blues, per the Press Association (h/t Sky Sports):

"If you look at the number of appearances, he has actually been on the field quite a lot. And I know from when we were talking with the club earlier in the season how much faith Maurizio [Sarri] has in him.

"He's got some outstanding players just in front of him. He's slowly getting more and more game time, and they've still got the Europa League as well. So, I think he's maturing well. There doesn't need to be a rush for him. I think we've seen that with Marcus [Rashford] and his development."

Southgate also said he's hopeful the ban Chelsea will serve on incoming players this summer will give Hudson-Odoi more opportunities.

Here's what the winger had to say following his first appearance for the Three Lions:

ITV Football @itvfootball

👍A happy @England debut for @ChelseaFC player Hudson-Odoi The first appearance of many for the #ThreeLions? https://t.co/zhNs6wOwow

While Bayern are the team most often mentioned when it comes to teenager, other sides are also reportedly in the frame. According to Rob Draper of the Mail on Sunday, Manchester United are ready to join the race for the player along with the Munich club, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.

Southgate evidently has faith in the Chelsea tyro, as he was called up to the senior setup for England's latest UEFA European Championship qualifiers. Hudson-Odoi's cameo in the 5-0 win over the Czech Republic was a landmark appearance too:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

18y 135d - Callum Hudson-Odoi is the youngest player in the history of the England national team to win his first cap in a competitive match (18y 135d), breaking the record held by Duncan Edwards since April 1955 (18y 183d). Talent. https://t.co/0ofYu68bsf

Despite his tender years, it's not a huge surprise to see the Chelsea winger playing at such a high level, as he's shone in 2018-19 when given opportunities for his club.

In the UEFA Europa League, he's been especially productive in the final third:

Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl

Callum Hudson-Odoi (18) in his four UEFA Europa League starts: ⚽🅰️ vs PAOK FC ⭕ vs MOL Vidi ⚽ vs Malmö FF ⚽🅰️ vs Dynamo Kyiv Five goal involvements in 360 minutes. https://t.co/BFEe50ikfi

For as long as Hudson-Odoi doesn't sign a new contract with Chelsea, speculation will continue to gather pace regarding a possible transfer, especially when you consider the calibre of teams said to be interested in securing his signature.

He's not started a Premier League game for the Blues despite his Europa League performances and impressive displays off the bench. Given the quality and maturity he's shown, surely the time has come for Chelsea to put faith in the youngster and hope that he will reciprocate that trust.