As young Ruben Loftus-Cheek tells it himself, he started out "deep in midfield" in the younger age levels in the Academy, but has been steadily moved forward as he's developed. We always pictured him as a midfielder in the Paul Pogba-mold, but the last couple seasons he's played in the No.10-role more often than not. Reviews were decidedly mixed.
The new boss seems to have taken all that a bit further even.
"Every manager has their own idea about a system of play. In this system, with two midfielders, Ruben can play close to the other forward but become a forward when we have the ball. He has the right characteristics to play in this position and he showed that today."
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
That sounds good in theory, though RLC failed rather noticeably to put these characteristic into action on Saturday against Rapid Vienna. With a bit more practice and conditioning, he looked more comfortable on Wednesday against Wolfsberger AC.
"I am playing in a striker role at the moment, which is different. It was the first time I played there, so there is a lot to get used to about the role and how the boss wants us to play. It is exciting."
The way Conte describes it, it's quite a challenging role, a sort of a defensive forward who's expected to press without the ball and be useful and influential on it. But Loftus-Cheek just want to play, regardless of which role he's picked for.
"I am just looking to play as much as I can. I will ask the boss what he wants from me and try to do what he asks. I will be myself on the pitch and try and play how I play as that's what has got me here."
"I think I can do a job in midfield as well, I told the boss I will play where he wants me to play. It is not a problem if he wants me to play as a striker, I will play there. At the moment I just want to be playing games."
Whether Loftus-Cheek stays a striker, once all transfer drama surrounding Costa and any new signings winds down, will be something to watch for as pre-season rumbles on in the USA. For now, RLC is appreciating the opportunity to learn up close and personal from Diego Costa.
"Diego trains properly and does everything properly and that's why he is so good and why he has been a good player for Chelsea. You learn a lot, and not just from Diego. You can pick and choose something from all the players, everyone is different. I am at Chelsea, I am at the best club in the world and you can learn a lot here."
-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: Goal
So say we all.