Friendly neighbors-rivals Fulham are far from an enviable position in the table, having been near-permanent residents of the relegation zone since the start of the season, and one of the prime candidates to return to Championship football after just one season back in the Premier League.
But there’s some growing hope amid the doom and gloom. After losing 8 of their first 11 matches, they have lost just 3 of the last 15. Trouble is, they’ve also only won 2 of those, which means that they remain 18th, three points from safety and 17th-place Newcastle United. But both of those wins arrived in the last few weeks, adding to the growing sense that they may be able to escape the drop after all.
One of the biggest factors in that turnaround has been the play of Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who’s started 11 of their last 12 Premier League matches, and even more hearteningly played the full-90 in 10 of them! It would appear that RLC’s confidence and stamina levels are indeed improving, and the loan is working to benefit of all, including Fulham manager Scott Parker, who’s more than happy to see the 25-year-old burst back into life.
“From when he first came into the building you could sense someone a little bit weary and someone who was a little bit down. He had been out for an extremely long time and had not played a lot of football. I’ve just seen someone grow, grow and grow into the player who we’ve all seen.
“There’s still loads to come but this is a player at this moment in time who, given moments in games, can take the game by the scruff of the neck and be that powerful, technically-gifted midfield player.”
Having suffered such a devastating Achilles injury, it’s great to see Ruben recovering in every aspect, physical and mental.
“I think he’s grown in confidence. I think the environment and the work he’s done in this short space of time has been a credit to him. I’ve been very, very pleased with him and he’s going in the right direction.”
-Scott Parker; source: Mail
As Parker said, the work is obviously not done yet, both on a personal level for Loftus-Cheek, and on a team-level for Fulham. They have 13 games to try to complete their escape, though the schedule does get a bit tougher in the next several weeks.
If RLC can continue stepping up, and maybe start chipping in with some goals, too, he could not only save our fellow West Londoners, but perhaps earn himself a new shot at glory at Stamford Bridge, too.