Frank Lampard believes Callum Hudson-Odoi can become the best player in the world and has urged him to listen to some “hard truths” and use Raheem Sterling as a role model.
Hudson-Odoi recently ended speculation about his Stamford Bridge future by signing a new five-year contract before making a goalscoring return from a ruptured Achilles tendon in the midweek Carabao Cup thrashing of Grimsby.
Despite the promising comeback after five months out, Blues boss Lampard feels the England international remains far from the finished article.
The 18-year-old has been encouraged to take on board advice and follow the example set by prolific international team-mate Sterling in order to realise his potential.
“I know Callum’s talent and he’s got huge talent, hence why the club was so keen to get him signed up and we’re all delighted with that,” said Lampard.
“But there is a lot of work to do.
“Raheem Sterling is an incredible example of a player with great talent whose work ethic added to that talent, and an improvement in a short period of time through absolute dedication to a complete player that we are all wowed by.
“(That) is exactly the great model for Callum because he has those talents. And I want him to be the best, the absolute best, because he has the potential to do that.
“And some of that is some hard truths and I saw some hard truths out of the game the other day in ways that he can improve.
“He needs to listen to them, and he will, and then he can be that player for us, which is great news for everybody.”
Hudson-Odoi is set to be involved in a Premier League squad for the first time under Lampard against Brighton on Saturday.
Before Wednesday’s 7-1 win over the League Two Mariners, the teenager’s previous outing came in the 2-2 draw with Burnley on April 22.
While Lampard will be keen to quickly integrate the player into a new-look Blues team which includes a number of other academy graduates, he is wary of rushing him back following such a serious injury.
“I will be careful with Callum, considering the type of injury he had,” said Lampard.
“That’s not to say he can’t play a major part in tomorrow’s game or a slightly lesser one.
“I will have to see on its merits with a bit of Callum’s personal injury situation in my mind as well.”
Lampard is still seeking a first top-flight home win ahead of the visit of Graham Potter’s Seagulls.
The 41-year-old wants to reward the club’s supporters for their patience and backing during a transitional phase severely hindered by a transfer ban.
“I bump into them all the time. Cabbies, people when I walk the dog, everyone’s been very supportive with what we’re trying to do,” Lampard said of the fans.
“I want to repay that and I know it’s a bit of a process. I want to repay it quickly but a lot of the fans – which is the real pleasing thing – are saying they see this is going to maybe take a bit of time, so that’s nice.
“But clearly we have to work like we want it tomorrow.”
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