Young Ruben Loftus-Cheek, a Chelsea boy through and through -- he joined the academy setup before turning 8 years old -- is well aware of the ever increasing pressure on the club to bring a youth product through the academy and into the first team. Ideally we'd do so before the last remaining such player in the squad retires.
Unfortunately, youth development is not an exact science. If it were, we'd be stuck in a virtual Football Manager world. What's best for one player isn't necessarily what's best for the next. While we often speak of a Chelsea process -- it generally goes: under-18 to under-21 to low-level loan to top-level loan to first-team or sale -- we cannot treat that as a one-size-fits-all methodology.
In Ruben Loftus-Cheek's case, the best option seems to be to keep him with the Chelsea first-team. We'd loan out most other 19-year-olds, but it seems we're planning on developing RLC purely "in-house." So far, the plan is working. Sunday's start against Liverpool was a major step forward, and one that is already bearing fruit.
"For me it was a big experience to take on and after that I want to work so much harder to push and push."
"Playing with some of the best players in the world, you're going to get better every day. It's important for me to work hard and give 100 per cent in training to try to improve. I think I have a good chance [for a prolonged Chelsea career], if I work hard."
"It was amazing to be in the starting line-up. I was having to mark a good player in Coutinho and try and keep him quiet. I had to be at my best."
-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: Evening Standard
Loftus-Cheek has always said the "right things" when it came to his development and Chelsea future, and he is saying the right things here as well. Hopefully, everything does indeed work out as we hope and he becomes our truly home-grown, world class legend.