Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been battling expectations and injuries throughout his young career, but just as he looked to have the former beaten, the latter struck again. Seventeen months after rupturing his Achilles, he’s still trying to come back. He may be “fit as a fiddle” in the words of Frank Lampard, but on the pitch that has not been too evident.
Leaving Chelsea on loan on deadline day to little surprise, the 24-year old will now look to regain his old form at local rivals Fulham, who were just promoted from the Championship. The timing of the move is similar to his previous loan, to Crystal Palace, which he leveraged into not only a spot at Chelsea the following season, but also a call-up to England’s 2018 World Cup squad.
England boss Gareth Southgate, who also worked with RLC as Three Lions’ U21 head coach, isn’t ruling out a similar scenario playing out this season. If Ruben can recover his form, a spot on the England team could yet follow.
“Whenever I speak to players about these sorts of situations, first and foremost they’ve got to do what’s right for their career. England is a consequence of that further down the line.
“When you’re making career decisions, you want to be playing football first and foremost and if there is more likelihood of playing football more regularly at Fulham, given the amount of football that Ruben has unfortunately missed with various injuries, then for his own development and his own enjoyment of his career then I think that is key.
“Then if he can play well, getting back in the England team gets on the radar. But he’s missed nearly 18 months.
“Really unfortunate to get the injury, he was having a super spell with Chelsea going into the latter stages of the Europa League, misses nearly a year and then just as he is getting back to fitness we have the pandemic so he’s missed a huge chunk.”
“We know that talent that he has, we know what he is capable of. Hopefully he can get back to playing regularly with Fulham and then he can go from there.”
-Gareth Southgate; Source: Evening Standard
We can only hope that RLC does indeed recover from this latest injury, and can get back to fulfilling his tremendous potential, for both club and country.