Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s career has been a subject of keen interest in the British media in the past eighteen months, and that interest has intensified once again in the past 7 days due to his eye-catching return to first-team football.
The 22-year-old Chelsea academy product has become something of an outcast under Maurizio Sarri whilst Ross Barkley has flourished, but that could be all set to change in the coming weeks.
Barkley continued to showcase his enormous potential by scoring and providing 2 assists in Chelsea’s 4-0 demolition of Burnley on Sunday afternoon, but Loftus-Cheek’s performance was also commendable.
Indeed, a first-half injury sustained by Pedro gave Loftus-Cheek his longest Premier League run out of the season so far.
He replaced the Spaniard in the 30th minute and enjoyed a productive afternoon, with his typically dynamic approach causing the hosts problems throughout proceedings before he capped his performance with a 92nd minute strike.
Loftus-Cheek’s performance was hailed by BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks via his regular team of the week column, and he has also had some positive words to say about Maurizio Sarri’s response when questioned about his refusal to award the Europa League hat-trick hero with a starting berth at Turf Moor.
‘What a week this lad has had: A hat-trick on Thursday in the Europa League against BATE Borisov and another fabulous goal against Burnley as Chelsea brushed aside their opponents.
‘Manager Maurizio Sarri was masterful in his response when asked about starting Loftus-Cheek at Turf Moor. “My problem is that I can only pick 11 players,” he said with a smirk.
‘Nevertheless, Sarri brought on the England international after 30 minutes in place of Pedro and didn’t regret it. I thought Loftus-Cheek should never have returned to Stamford Bridge after his loan spell at Crystal Palace last season but if he carries on like this he could be their future.’
Crooks’ praise for the England international was certainly justified after another promising performance in Chelsea blue, and it seems he has a soft spot for Sarri judging by the extent of his praise.
After all, Sarri’s response was typical of media trained managers who often deliver a similarly generic response to questions concerning team selection.
Chelsea’s squad is certainly stacked with immensely talented individuals and Loftus-Cheek will need to bide his time before he gets a regular run of games in the first-team under Sarri, but he is making necessary strides towards convincing the Italian that he can become an integral member of the squad.
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