Maurizio Sarri insists he is right to be cautious with Callum Hudson-Odoi's development and suggests that people should not get carried away with his performance for England against Montenegro.
The winger started for the Three Lions in their 5-1 win against Montenegro on Monday but is yet to be selected in Sarri's Chelsea XI for a Premier League game.
Sarri has questioned the standard of Euro 2020 qualifying and has even proposed separate tournaments to keep the elite and lower-ranked nations apart. When asked if Hudson-Odoi starting for England made him feel awkward, the Italian – speaking at a media conference ahead of Chelsea's visit to Cardiff City – responded: "No, because I don't have to play against Montenegro.
"I think in the qualification for the European Championships, the level is really very low. It's not the Premier League level, of course.
"It depends upon the national team, of course, but there are a lot of national teams with a very low level. I cannot understand why there is only a group. Maybe it's better to have a European Championships for the first level, and one for a second level. It's incredible that a player who is very important for a club has to play in Malta, Cyprus, Liechtenstein or Andorra."
Hudson-Odoi, who was a target for Bayern Munich in the January transfer window, has seen opportunities limited at Chelsea this term. He has impressed in the Europa League, however, scoring four goals in eight appearances – half of which have come as a substitute.
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Sarri is excited by his potential but believes there are a number of areas he needs to improve on before he becomes a first-team regular.
"I think he needs to improve more," he added. "And I want him to improve more. He has to stay with his feet on the floor. He has to work every day, and improve the left [foot], improve in the defensive phase and improve in his movement without the ball.
"I want him to improve because the potential is really, really very, very high so it's right that he continues to improve. Otherwise we risk stopping him. He is, in this moment, a very, very good player, but he has the possibility to become better. I want him to become better."