In the wake of last week's 1-0 victory against West Ham, Jose Mourinho spent some time talking up young midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Which was a bit strange, considering he didn't play. But now he's doubling down on those quotes, going so far as to insist that the teenager will stick around at Stamford Bridge next year. And to play a role at that:
At the age of 18, 19 sometimes you don’t believe that the player can go in a certain direction so you make a couple of million [selling him] and you are just happy with that. At academy level you know clearly that not everyone is going to be players for your first team.
So sometimes if you can capitalise on that and make money in small deals you can make the money you need to invest again and again and again in the academy, to get the right talents that you bring to the first team. And [those] you bring to stay [in the first team].
I can say now, Loftus-Cheek is to stay. To stay. And I think to stay and to play. I think next year to play not just to stay. Stay and play.
As ever, we'll believe it when we see it. Making semi-promises like this is a bit of a strange thing to do so far ahead of the season, and I have to wonder why the manager is bothering with it. Is Loftus-Cheek talking about moving elsewhere due to a lack of first-team opportunities? I can't think of much else that would spark this low-key PR game Mourinho's playing.
Maybe he's just being nice?