Ruben Loftus-Cheek was set for a rehab start on Monday for the U23 Development Squad, but due to a last-minute bit of precaution, that plan was scratched, as head coach Frank Lampard revealed in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“He had a small issue so we felt it wasn’t right to risk him in a game at that time. It was tiny but it was one of those where we wanted to control him more rather than have him in a 90-minute Under-23s game so we came away from that.”
Fortunately, the 24-year-old appears to have suffered no further setbacks during the week’s training and is now set to be named to the bench as Chelsea host Tottenham Hotspur later today.
So what are we hoping for from Loftus-Cheek in what could be his first competitive appearance since tearing his Achilles nine months ago? Impact, with a capital I.
“He still needs match fitness. By putting him in the squad, we’re hoping he can be an impact if he has to come on because I can already see his abilities out there and what he can bring. I knew them already but to see them first-hand in training has been nice.
“Can he sustain that over 90 minutes at the moment? No, so we’ll have to work towards that but if he’s on the bench then he’ll have to be ready. If something happens in minute one, you’d maybe consider not doing it but if there is a chance for an impact then we know the quality he can bring.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
It sounds like the plan is for Ruben to make an appearance one way or another. Hopefully, it will be as a substitute in a match that Chelsea are winning comfortably, by multiple goals. (A man can dream, can’t he?)