From midfielder to attacking midfielder, and now (potentially) second striker, Chelsea prospect Ruben Loftus-Cheek is set enter his second season as a first-team player. Long the Academy's great big hope, RLC's time with the first-team has been big on hype and short on actual playing time so far, but there's real hope that some of that might change under Antonio Conte. The new boss is perhaps also the best thing to have happened to Loftus-Cheek's perceived lack of stamina and work-rate — assuming he continues to improve along the trajectory he's shown in the limited pre-season appearances so far.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are also bringing in fresh new talent, including one who's set to play in what we predicted to be Loftus-Cheek's position (i.e. midfield) and another who's set to play in what looks like the position Conte has earmarked for Loftus-Cheek instead (i.e. forward). As any good teammate, RLC looks forward to sharing the pitch with the new signings.
"Definitely [excited about the signing of Kanté], he is a great asset to us. His stamina and how he can get up and down the pitch for 90 minutes [is impressive]. He is a really good player so we are lucky to have him. He is a really hard worker and he is a proper team player. We could do with that in midfield and he could really help."
"Some people's careers take off at different moments, he wasn't on the radar but then for Leicester City he has done really well, won a title for them and now he is going to be playing for Chelsea so I am really happy for him and the club are really happy to have him."
"[As for Michy Batshuayi], we have all met him and welcomed him, he looks good in training. He is quite powerful and it will be good to play with him and see what he can do."
"We will have to see what happens in the game, I am sure we will link up well. We are doing tactics in training, trying to get used to the movements so I think he will be good. I watched the Euros and he really does look good. He is fast, powerful and can head the ball so we are lucky to have him."
-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; Source: Goal.com
With Kanté and Batshuayi now in the mix, Loftus-Cheek's quest to get more playing time at Chelsea's first team has only gotten harder. But competition can also be a good thing, and as long as Conte truly rewards effort in training with playing time (i.e. meritocracy in action, not just in words), we could really see RLC's development kickstarted in a most promising way.