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Loftus-Cheek back problem long known, no reason for long-term concern

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England v Germany - International Friendly Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Ruben Loftus-Cheek suffered a recurrence of a back problem earlier this week that has, in some shape or form, been bothering him for at least a year, but probably much longer than that. In fact, throughout his youthful career so far, RLC seems to have had more than his fair share of injuries, some of which were simply due to growing too fast, and some stretching back as far as 2011 if not longer.

“I think I have stopped growing now. The last time I checked I hadn’t grown. I am just under 6ft 3 now but because I had such a growth spurt it was quite hard to get used to my body, it takes a while.

“I grew so quickly I was getting injured a lot a few years back, with my knees playing up. It was just about managing me correctly and the Academy did a great job with that and it helped me a lot. I am grateful and I haven’t had any bad injures since. Hopefully that will continue and I still do a lot of injury prevention work, and I will keep that going.”

-Ruben Loftus-Cheeek, March 2016; source: Chelsea FC

RLC’s knees held up last season, but he was ruled out on three separate occasion with back problems, which now apparently flared up once again as he was making his second start for the England national team.

As he’s on loan at the moment from Chelsea, it was Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson who addressed the media over these concerns, revealing that they were not too surprised by the injury but failing to provide any real prognosis over his condition.

“It is something we were aware of, his condition, so it did not come as a massive surprise. He is tall, straight-backed and powerful, so he puts a lot of power through his lower back. It goes for all players of his type: the chances are they are going to have a slight problem.”

But while that sounds like a situation that’s ripe for future disappointment, Hodgson seems unconcerned.

“I do not see any reason for concern at the moment. Maybe in a month or two if he is not playing the games and you ask me again, maybe I will have to say it is a concern. Time will tell. [...] I am optimistic and I believe it will not be a problem.”

-Roy Hodgson; source: Evening Standard

The 21-year-old Loftus-Cheek has been Palace’s best player so far this season, which isn’t necessarily saying much given how terrible they’ve been overall, but on the other hand, is saying more than enough as far as his future prospects at Chelsea may be concerned. For now however, Chelsea could only bring him back in January if he’s not playing, so hopefully we’ll be able to avoid a repeat of the Aké situation last season.

“I believe there is only a clause that they can bring him back if he is not playing. I believe if he is playing, there is no break clause."

-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: Evening Standard

Palace, probably without RLC, will be taking on Everton today at Selhurst Park, where they’ve actually gone three games unbeaten in all competitions (including that 2-1 shock over Chelsea).