Frank Lampard eager to protect Callum Hudson-Odoi
Frank Lampard wants to shield Callum Hudson-Odoi from social media criticism to help the England forward rediscover top form at Chelsea.
Teen star Hudson-Odoi struggled in Chelsea’s 2-0 home loss to Southampton on Boxing Day, in his first start since October.
The 19-year-old was trolled on social media in the wake of that lacklustre loss, but put in a brighter cameo in Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League win at Arsenal.
And now Blues boss Lampard has pledged to help Hudson-Odoi shake off the outside criticism and graft his way back to his best.
“I think it’s a lot at 19 to say with one performance you must produce instantly or you’ll get social media criticism, and I’ll certainly protect him against that,” said Lampard.
“Little snippets like at Arsenal, coming on and looking bright and going by people, he can do all that.
“He does need to show more but he absolutely will do and we’re right behind him.
“I’ve not spoken to him about that specifically and unfortunately on social media that’s par for the course.
“That’s something unfortunately that you’ve got to have a very thick skin about.
“He’s a young player, 19 and only just. We actually do have to give time and patience given how young he is.
“I’ve got no problems with him and I’m very pleased with how he did at Arsenal. That should be a nice little boost for him.
“The Chelsea fans will get behind him, they want to see passion and they want to see all the other things as well as the ability to go by people, which he’s got.
“So he needs to understand what’s needed but I’ll back him and work with him on that.”
Last term Bayern Munich pressed hard to prise Hudson-Odoi away from Stamford Bridge before the Blues academy product eventually signed a long-term deal to stay in west London.
Asked if the hype around a possible switch to Germany could be causing Hudson-Odoi problems now, Lampard said: “I’m not sure but if that is the case I think that will quite quickly be put to bed.
“He signed a really long contract here, he wants to be here, we’re happy with him but now he has to produce.
“Maybe we’re asking too much from him at 19.
“But his consistency needs to be how he works, how he trains every day and how much pressure he puts on me to put him in the team.
“From all the conversations I’ve had with over the last few weeks, and I’ve had a few, he understands what he needs to do on and off the pitch. And I will certainly stick with him.”