Frank Lampard says Callum Hudson-Odoi is central to Chelsea’s future and that he wants to work with the England international to develop his talent.
Lampard, who was officially unveiled as Chelsea’s new manager on Thursday, will have a focus on developing young players in the team due in part to the club’s transfer ban.
This week, Ruben Loftus-Cheek signed a new five-year contract, and Lampard is hoping that Hudson-Odoi – who is the subject of interest from German giants Bayern Munich – will follow suit.
“I have seen Callum come through and he is a fantastic talent,” Lampard said. “We all know that and I will speak to him and I want him to stay.
“I know the club want him to stay and for me, he is going to be central for us on the pitch and that is the opportunity that is really in front of him now, certainly from where I am sitting. So that is something I will speak to him about and I hope he stays.
“When I say he is going to be central to it, there are things as a young player that he will want to improve and there are things through natural development that will improve, so I am not going to say things that are pie in the sky but with his talent, he can be central to this team, he can be central to England, so I am going to say I want to work with him, I want to drive him forward and I want to improve him as a player.”
Lampard has vowed not to promise anything he can’t deliver to Hudson-Odoi, who is currently recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered at the end of last campaign.
“I will pay a lot of care and attention to Callum, because of the contractual position he is in, to try to get him to stay and not with any lies or any false statements to him,” Lampard explained.
“I know what a player he is and I think he can be an incredible player and he has improvement to make and I want to work with him to do it, but for that he needs to stay longer at the club.
“That of course goes to a decision between him and the club and I am not involved in the financial negotiations, but I can certainly tell him how I see it and I see him being a huge player for us.
“Before Callum got injured you could certainly see opportunities he was having to play. He was playing well and showing more than glimpses of the player that he is, not just for Chelsea but for England, and that is what he needs to know.
“I remember being 17, 18 or 19, and I wasn’t as good as Callum at that age without a doubt, but I was frustrated because Harry Redknapp didn’t play me [at West Ham] and I wanted to play, and that is part of breaking through into the first team.