With the signings of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in the summer, Chelsea have reached a level of depth and quality in midfield not seen for quite some time. In addition to the high profile signings, the return of a “chosen one”, Academy graduate Ruben Loftus-Cheek, has given Maurizio Sarri another quality option in midfield.
While this is a great situation from Chelsea’s perspective, the problem remains the same as it ever was for Ruben himself: game time. For now, and in a slight change of attitude from last season and the summer, he is willing to be patient and wait for his chances at the club, as he told Sky Sports in a recent interview while away on international duty with England.
“Being 22 feels quite old, considering some of the boys were playing when they were 17 or 18. I’d like to have more appearances by now, but it’s just the way my journey has gone, and I just have to be patient with it. I can see it as a positive. I’m playing for England, playing well when I play, and that’s without too many appearances so it’s still raw in that sense.”
Certainly a steady and mature attitude reflected in those comments. And thankfully, that patience should be able to be rewarded with the upcoming congested schedule providing a perfect opportunity to make a good impression and stake a claim for a starting spot. The Premier League, Europa League, League Cup all will be happening so Sarri will have to rotate heavily, even if he might prefer not to.
“I really enjoyed playing and training with [Chelsea’s squad], I could feel myself getting better every day and improving, but it got to a point where training wasn’t enough and you need the exposure in the Premier League. That’s when I took the chance to go to Palace, and even when that happened, I thought I could’ve done it earlier. I started really enjoying my football, playing in the Premier League every week, and I felt the benefits.
“I was fortunate enough to be fit for that period where it’s like a game every three days over Christmas, and I got my body used to being able to play, have a rest, then play on a Tuesday. That was massive for me and I coped with it well.”
-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: Sky Sports
Loftus-Cheek’s performances at the World Cup and especially at Selhurst Park last season certainly have shown that, if given a chance, he could succeed at Chelsea as well. The next weeks and months will prove crucial in that quest to finally achieve what so many have tried and failed before him, succeeding at Stamford Bridge as a Chelsea Academy graduate.
Good luck, Ruben; we’re all rooting for you!