Football is back, and we’re into the meaty part of the schedule now. Chelsea will be playing twice a week for the foreseeable future, with only international breaks in mid-October and mid-November providing a change of pace. Last season, the Blues had exactly one open midweek from September to mid-February, and depending on progress in the domestic cups, a similar workload is expected this season as well. Ideally, that means plenty of squad rotation and plenty of opportunities for all the players.
Expected to take great advantage of these added minutes is Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
“There are a lot of games coming up, so I think there will be more opportunities coming for players that are not playing every week. But I’m not sure when I am going to play. It is just down to me working hard in training.”
But for him, it’s not only about the next two months; it’s about his Chelsea future. Already rumored to be leaving in the summer, if he doesn’t play, he’s probably leaving in January.
“Possibly but it is still far away. There are still a lot of games to play and I just have to see what happens. Right now I am at Chelsea and my focus is at Chelsea and learning at Chelsea. That is in the future and we will deal with that when it comes.”
RLC was one of the few somewhat-bright spots for a tepid England against Switzerland this week, but when it comes to Sarri-ball, he admits he’s got plenty to learn still. Of course, it’s hard to shine when he’s not playing regularly.
“A lot of my game is based on physicality and I obviously didn’t feel my fittest against Switzerland but I will build on that. I’ve spoken a lot with Sarri in the past couple of weeks and he’s told me I need to learn tactically and his ways in training. The quicker I get that then the more opportunities I will get to play.”
-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: The Guardian
And therein lies the key. If he can convince Sarri, he has a shot at earning more playing time. And that, in turn, means he’ll stick around after the January transfer window — and perhaps beyond that.
Loftus-Cheek isn’t the only one facing this predicament. The likes of Ethan Ampadu, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Andreas Christensen, Gary Cahill, Danny Drinkwater, Cesc Fàbregas, Victor Moses, Emerson, Davide Zappacosta — Chelsea do have a big squad! — are all looking for playing time. For them and for RLC, the new few months loom large.