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Mourinho: Loftus-Cheek is ready but not ready

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One thing that seems abundantly clear at this point is that Jose Mourinho, even if we don't all agree with his methods, is fairly intent on making good on his promise to develop Ruben Loftus-Cheek to the best of his abilities.  And I mean that both in term of the player's actual abilities and Mourinho's capacity for nurturing young talent.  Jose's always quick to point the likes of Varane or Davide Santon but the perception remains firmly not in his favour when it comes to youth development.

That said, trusting Ruben with the start in our Champions League opener against Maccabi was a welcome decision, and the young man repaid the faith shown with what was arguably a Man of the Match performance.  It's easy to get carried away -- we've all been there before -- but if you're expecting Loftus-Cheek to start against Arsenal, too, you're probably in for a disappointing starting lineup announcement.

"Ruben is ready. He's very confident, very good self esteem, wants to play and is not afraid of anything. He's not ready from the tactical point of view."

"The tactical point of view is where to keep working, improving, kill him in Australia, the process is on the tactical and physical side."

"To play the other night like he did, after 77 minutes he had cramp. He's not ready in that side. Mentally is ready and if I played him tomorrow it would be no problem."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Get West London

So that's 1-out-of-3 in terms of readiness.  The mentality is there, which is actually a fantastic assessment since that's what was questioned most towards the end of last season and during the post-season tour.  Presumably, the rest will come with further practice and match action.  Stepping up to the pace and physicality of the Premier League and Champions League is never an easy process; as just a teenager deployed in the most crucial position on the pitch, the positioning, anticipation, teamwork will only improve.

With matches coming every three days or so (in-between international breaks), Loftus-Cheek should not be hurting for playing time.  While he's unlikely to be involved against Arsenal from the start (if at all), the 19-year-old should get the call again for Wednesday's League Cup match.

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