Ruben Loftus-Cheek claims that he made the decision to leave Chelsea – even on a temporary basis – in order to improve his career. The 21-year-old was speaking after having produced a stellar performance for England against Germany. Loftus-Cheek has only featured in 22 league appearances for Chelsea in just over three years. Like many of the youngsters at the club, he was sent out on loan to Crystal Palace, where he has had already made seven Premier League appearances so far.
Chelsea have been criticised for not giving youngsters significant first-team opportunities. Frequent managerial changes have meant that the likes of Nathan Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah have had to leave the club on a permanent basis in search of regular football. Yet, the talent within Loftus-Cheek appears to have convinced Chelsea to retain him as he has been only allowed to leave on a loan deal.
The 21-year-old has spoken about the need to leave Chelsea in the summer so as to improve his career. He said:
“I had a vision and it became quite strong that I wanted to go from Chelsea.
“I felt like I needed to play a lot, so I came in and said I wanted to go away from Chelsea and play games. So we came to an agreement.
A lot of former players and managers have come out in support of Loftus-Cheek after his latest strong performance against England. He was by far the best player on the pitch against Germany, and England manager Gareth Southgate feels that the player can only go to greater heights if he manages to get regular football. Yet, Loftus-Cheek may not feature straight away in the potential candidates for Ballon d’Or awards.
It remains to be seen if his performance as well have caught the attention of Antonio Conte, who is not exactly blessed with a lot of strength in depth when it comes to midfield positions. Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko, and Danny Drinkwater are the four major midfielders at his disposal. Even though Loftus-Cheek has received a lot of exposure after his recent friendly against Germany, it is highly unlikely that he will be recalled from his loan spell at Crystal Palace.
While Chelsea have been criticised for not giving youth players an opportunity, the success of Thibaut Courtois and Andreas Christiansen are signs that the club will be giving young players opportunity provided they have a successful loan spell. Both players were signed as young names were loaned out to various clubs, but they are now regarded as key members of this Chelsea set up.
Loftus-Cheek father has openly criticised Jose Mourinho for not giving him enough first-team opportunities. Perhaps, it should not come as a major surprise with the Portuguese always relying upon experienced players. Let us hope that Loftus-Cheek has a positive period of him and that he can establish himself at Chelsea – unlike Ake or Chalobah.