I had some ‘conversations’ via my Twitter account earlier today regarding Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
The short story is that I believe Loftus-Cheek will become very important for Chelsea once he returns to full match fitness, and some other fans oddly want him sold, or are criticising his performances this season.
I mean, that is just absurd. 24-year old Loftus-Cheek isn’t getting any younger, we know that. But to write him off at this stage when he is clearly struggling getting back to his full match fitness after a career threatening injury and not playing for the best part of a season, is just ridiculous.
Do we have such short term reactionary memories that we forget he was only being slowly introduced by Frank Lampard playing development matches before lock down just four months back? You expect him to have miraculously got his full match fitness and game confidence back whilst running on his treadmill for the last four months? You expect him to come back in all cylinders firing? If the answer is yes, please have a chat with yourself in the mirror.
I also suggest you stretch those short-term memories back to England in the World Cup in 2018. Loftus-Cheek was one of England’s best creative players, and really showed us glimpses of what a fully fit Loftus-Cheek can do.
He has struggled with regular injuries throughout his career, but he has worked hard trying things like yoga in order to get on top of these. Yes, he now needs to stay fully fit and injury free, yes, he needs to get comfortable out on the pitch and confident enough to start playing with the swagger he so often plays with. But once he gets there, we have a potential world class player on our hands and you’d be a fool to write him off now.
Lampard rates him massively, he is slowly introducing him into matches in order to get him match fit. Lampard knows how to man-manage Loftus-Cheek, and he knows how important it is not to rush him. Because he also knows just how important the midfielder will become to his team.
Make no mistake, Loftus-Cheek will be a regular Chelsea starter in the next season or two, regardless of what other world class players arrive. He has a technical brilliance that makes him stand out from any other player in this team.
He can defend, attack, dribble, has an eye for a creative pass, can shoot, score and get assists. He is an all round midfielder with bags of talent and is far from one-dimensional.
The way he carries himself is often mistaken as lazy, but this is also the reason he is compared to the great Michael Ballack – who carried himself in the same way.
Loftus-Cheek isn’t lazy, nor does he lack the energy to be a box to box high pressing midfielder, he absolutely has that in the tank.
We are starting to see it all creeping back in – his beautiful chipped assist for Tammy Abraham’s goal against Crystal Palace this week for example. The more he plays, the more everything else will come, and the more of that type of elite excellence we will see.
Loftus-Cheek will be essential for Chelsea for many years to come, and he even has future captain credentials. Write him off at your peril…