Zola defends Hudson-Odoi treatment

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Gianfranco Zola has defended Chelsea’s treatment of Callum Hudson-Odoi and says he is being given more first-team opportunities than other 18-year-olds.

Hudson-Odoi has yet to make a Premier League start for the Blues and was limited to six minutes from the bench in Thursday’s Europa League win at Malmo.

In January, Bayern Munich failed with a £35m bid for the winger, who also had a transfer request turned down, but Zola rejected claims that Chelsea’s coaching staff should be doing more to make him feel valued.

“Sorry but I disagree with this,” Zola said. “He is always on the edge of the team.

“As soon as there is an opportunity he plays, sometimes from the beginning. The manager is giving plenty of reasons for him to feel involved and wanted.

“There are not many 18-year-olds at top clubs in Europe who are playing as much as him. On top of that, he is a player that we appreciate and believe is growing up.”

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