Held in high regard by the club's staff since his academy days, Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek stayed at the club this season instead of heading out on loan like many of his colleagues in the hopes of seeing significant time in our first-team. Unfortunately the team's struggling form didn't provide either of the Blues managers this season much room for experimentation, as they decided to rely on veterans instead of giving someone like Loftus-Cheek a chance to prove himself.
Nevertheless, Loftus-Cheek made the most out of the minutes he could get on the pitch with Chelsea, most recently bagging his first Premier League goal against Aston Villa last weekend. The young Englishman hopes to get even more chances in the team under Guus Hiddink's guidance, as incoming manager Antonio Conte will also be taking notes.
"If the manager decides to put a few younger players in the side for the rest of the season, that would be great for all of us and the Academy. We haven't had the best of seasons but we still want to win every game."
"The next manager coming in is watching us now, so you always want to do your best in every game. We all want to impress the next man who is taking over. Everyone has got to be at their best, we can't rest on our laurels because there are no trophies to play for."
One of the stories of the season has been Tottenham, which have used quite a bit of young talent while challnging Leicester City for the title. One of Spurs' key players is 19-year-old attacking midfielder Dele Alli, who has been friends with Loftus-Cheek for quite a while, and became an inspiration to the Blues player due to what he's been able to achieve on the pitch.
"He is doing well in the England team and that gives other young players coming through the belief as well. I've been good friends with Dele for a long time. We have been in the England set-up together since I was young. We played together a few times, he's a really nice guy."
"We text each other. When we were at St George's Park [the FA's national football centre] the other week for the international break, we chilled out together. You want to do your best individually but healthy competition is good to push you on."
"We are not trying to be better than each other in a confrontational kind of way, you just want to do the best for yourself. That drives you forward."
-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; Source: London Evening Standard
Despite everything that happened this season, Loftus-Cheek remained patient and waited for his chances to come. It's high time for Chelsea to reward him with a bit more confidence on his potential.