Ruben Loftus-Cheek showed once again on Wednesday night that he is the real deal for Chelsea. A goal and an assist in The Blues’ 3-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion capped off a fabulous few days for the 23-year-old, following on from his late winner at Cardiff City last Sunday.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek Can Become a Chelsea Great
Loftus-Cheek has struggled with a niggling back problem that has seen his chances of regular first-team football reduced. However, the England midfielder has never failed to deliver when called upon.
It’s been nearly four-and-a-half years since a young Loftus-Cheek first broke through at Chelsea. After starring for The Blues’ youth team and U23’s, Loftus-Cheek made his debut in November 2014 in a Champions League tie against Sporting Lisbon. During the next few seasons the midfielder saw his profile rise as he steadily found himself improving a squad player.
Palace Star to English Lion
Last season a successful loan spell at Crystal Palace saw him become a fans favourite at Selhurst Park. Although injury issues blighted his season, Loftus-Cheek still found himself in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad. Cameo performances were more than expected by many, with the Lewisham-born man adding an extra spark and something different to The Three Lions midfield.
Return to The Bridge
Chelsea fans were extremely vocal in their desire to see their academy graduate back at Stamford Bridge. Despite rumours of another loan away, the transfer window deadline passed by with Loftus-Cheek remaining a Blue.
The back problem has been well publicised but, even with restricted appearances, Loftus-Cheek looked to have a huge future with his boyhood club. The midfielder has made 18 Premier League appearances this season, starting two with 16 coming as a substitute. In total, the 23-year-old has appeared a total of 564 minutes, scoring five goals and assisting once, according to fbref.com.
Loftus-Cheek has certainly impressed on the Europa League stage. A hattrick against BATE Borisov during the group stage helped The Blues reach the quarter-finals. He has added two assists and is likely to play a huge part in Chelsea’s quest to win the trophy for the second time in their history.
There’s no doubt he needs to be tested over a longer period for those stats to look more impressive. Nobody is expecting him to reach the heights of Frank Lampard in scoring 20+ goals every season. However, there’s no doubt he can come close to emulating The Blues legend, at least statistically any way.
The Future’s Bright
It’s important going forward that Maurizio Sarri continues to give Loftus-Cheek first-team football. The Italian spoke highly of him ahead of West Ham United’s visit to West London. Sarri believes that Loftus-Cheek is now a “complete” player.
It remains to be seen if Loftus-Cheek can shake off the injury problems. With the trust of Maurizio Sarri, he can become a lynchpin in The Blues’ midfield for many years to become. Without putting too much pressure on his shoulders, maybe he can even become a legend.