Maurizio Sarri wants Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to form Chelsea’s bedrock for years to come.
Teen England star Hudson-Odoi toasted his full Premier League debut by sparking Chelsea’s 3-0 home win over Brighton by laying on Olivier Giroud’s goal.
Eden Hazard and Loftus-Cheek fired eye-catching second-half goals as Chelsea stepped up to fifth in the table, one point off Tottenham in third.
And then head coach Sarri insisted he hopes his young English talents will become part of the Stamford Bridge fabric.
Asked if Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek can become the bedrock of Chelsea’s future, Sarri said: “I think so and I hope so.
“In the future, they can become top players; for this team, the future could be good.”
The Blues’ supporters had been desperate for Hudson-Odoi to start a league match, and the highly rated forward did not disappoint on Wednesday.
Hudson-Odoi’s current Chelsea deal expires in the summer of 2020, with the Blues board keen to tie down their homegrown star to long terms.
Chelsea rejected a £35million bid from Bayern Munich for Hudson-Odoi in January, but a host of top European suitors continue to monitor his situation.
Giroud ⚽️Hazard ⚽️Loftus-Cheek ⚽️
Watch the #CHEBHA goals back now in the Chelsea app!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 3, 2019
Asked if the club can take any specific steps to ensure they retain their top young talents, Sarri replied: “I don’t know; sometimes it’s impossible to do something.
“As you can see in other teams, it’s very difficult to keep the young players.
“When you are under 18 in England, you can sign only for three years. So it’s a big risk for the club.
“Callum now is ready to play in every match, even the most difficult match.
“He has to keep his feet on the ground. He could risk thinking he is a player at 100 per cent, but it’s impossible to be at the top when you are 18.”
Sarri explained Loftus-Cheek has battled a nagging back issue all season, but could now be near to full fitness.
“Loftus for the first time in the season is without his problem in his back,” said Sarri.
“For the last 20 days, he was able to train every day.
“He played very well and scored a wonderful goal but then had a little problem with his hamstring. Nothing serious, only a cramp I think.
“But tomorrow I want to be sure of the situation about his back.”
Good to get my first premier league start with a 3-0 win, an assist and a great team performance!!🔥👊🏾 pic.twitter.com/QsSjvidnVA
— Callum Hudson-Odoi (@Calteck10) April 3, 2019
Brighton boss Chris Hughton hopes Solly March can shake off a calf issue in time for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City.
Hughton said: “Solly felt his calf tightening, so we’re hoping that he came off at the right time.”