We're far enough into the summer that our post-season tour feels like a long-distant and vaguely annoying memory. Little of note happened, and it's taking up valuable brain space that could be devoted to recalling an extra Eden Hazard dribble or two. After all, overseas friendlies are [a cynical cash grab | a way for the club to connect with international fans], and not much ever comes out of them barring injury.
But we did get one story with some legs out of the trip. Jose Mourinho's criticism of young Ruben Loftus-Cheek after the Blues' 1-0 win in Sydney surprised many, especially after all the praise the manager had thrown at the teenager this season. It was taken (by those inclined to take things that way, mostly) as yet another hint that Mourinho pathologically hates anyone without about three seasons of top-flight experience, but the interesting question was not how the remarks were taken by the media but rather how Loftus-Cheek would respond.
How did the midfielder take it? Turns out pretty well.
I listened to what the manager said and I wasn’t at the level. I need to do better. I need to do better if I want to play for Chelsea. For me that is a reminder that I have to work hard to get in the team. I just need to do my best.
I will listen to him and learn from him every way I can. I really want to work hard now.
All we can ask of the talented young crew the club's currently developing is that they work as hard as possible to maximise their potential. If Loftus-Cheek does that, he has every shot of breaking into the first team. If he doesn't ... well, talent alone doesn't keep anyone at Chelsea for long these days. From those comments it sounds like he's going to try to pick path number one.