Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has warned Callum Hudson-Odoi the “hard work starts now” after the teenager signed a new long-term deal.
England international Hudson-Odoi put pen to paper on a new five-year contract on Thursday which will keep him at Stamford Bridge until 2024.
The 18-year-old winger’s future had been the subject of much speculation, with Bayern Munich strongly linked to the youngster before he agreed fresh terms.
Lampard had assured Hudson-Odoi, who has been out injured since rupturing his Achilles in April, he was a central part of his plans when he replaced Maurizio Sarri in the Chelsea dugout in July.
And speaking at a news conference on Friday ahead of Sunday’s clash with Premier League leaders Liverpool, Lampard said Hudson-Odoi now has to show his worth on the pitch.
“He is a young lad who has come through the academy, the club have worked hard with him, and he has worked hard to get one foot in the first team,” Lampard said.
“For me it felt like it was what everyone wanted. It was away from me slightly with the club dealing with the contract itself.
“But I made it clear I wanted him at the club because I believe in his talent. Now that a five-year contract is signed it is where the hard work really starts for him.
“He has got everything we are trying to bring, we know the talent he has, that he has shown on occasions in the first team when he has had his opportunity.
“I think there is a lot more. It’s pure hard work that will get him there. Now that it is signed and sealed we can put that to bed and get to work.”
— Callum Hudson-Odoi (@Calteck10) September 19, 2019
Hudson-Odoi and Lampard had face-to-face talks during pre-season amid rumours the player was seeking to leave Stamford Bridge.
Lampard emphasised to the teenager that his vision for Chelsea involved putting faith in the club’s youngsters.
“A lot of the talk was before me, a lot of that talk was from last season, so I only saw that from the outside,” added Lampard.
“The only talks I had were not persuasion, but about how I see it at the club. Hopefully Callum can look at the other younger players around him getting their opportunities.
“They are not being handed to them on a plate but because they have earned them because they have worked so hard in pre-season.
“You talk about Tammy [Abraham] and Mason [Mount] and Fikayo [Tomori], it is a nice thing for him to see and something that he can be hungry for.”
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