Young Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s fairly lengthy (for a 20-year-old kid) Chelsea first-team career has consisted so far of plenty of hype but at best inconsistent performances in the rare chances that he has actually gotten to impress in the first-team. He does have nine starts to his name and 21 senior appearances overall; given Chelsea’s record of youth integration, that’s actually not bad at all.
As is the case with most youngsters, Loftus-Cheek will only improve with consistent playing time. Mourinho had every intention of doing just that, or so he claimed, but RLC’s performances were hardly met with universal approval. He was either out of shape, out of his depth, or just out of favor — or was just a young kid in need of the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them.
Loftus-Cheek got the start in Chelsea’s first pre-season match on Saturday, but only made it to half-time before being replaced by Oscar. More of the same then? Perhaps not.
According to The Times, new head coach Antonio Conte is quite impressed with the big kid, so much so that he’s no longer chasing any additional midfield targets and may even allow Nemanja Matić to leave.
The England Under-21 midfielder is understood to have made a big impression on Conte in training over the past seven days and the club’s new manager is hoping that he will develop into a big part of his first-team squad...
Been here, done that. Maybe this time is the real deal?