Ruben Loftus-Cheek was not named in the matchday squad for Saturday’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace, and while by definition a few players will always have to miss out if we’re (almost) fully fit since we can only name nine players to the bench, his absence was notable especially as we’re still hoping that his future lies with the first-team rather than out on loan (again) or something even more drastic.
As it turns out however, Ruben was not actually available thanks to that most 2020 (and 2021) of things, a positive COVID-19 test. And he remains unavailable due to the quarantine protocols, as confirmed by Thomas Tuchel.
“Ruben has, unfortunately, had a positive test on Thursday. He is in isolation and following the protocol and that’s why he isn’t in the team.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Goal
Current UK government rules call for a 10-day isolation period after a positive test, assuming no symptoms develop, and Loftus-Cheek will have to pass at least one test before then as well in order to return and rejoin the rest of squad. He could theoretically be available for the match against Liverpool at Anfield on the final weekend of August, just before the first international break of the season.
Obviously the timing isn’t great, but hopefully there won’t be any health effects from it for Ruben (or anyone else in the squad) and he gets to return soon.