Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has stated that Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be an important player for the club, following his return from Fulham at the end of the season.
The 24-year-old made his senior debut for the Blues back in 2014, yet has never really managed to earn an extended run in the side under a succession of managers.
While injuries have played a role in curbing his development, the midfielder hasn’t always taken the chance when handed game time at Stamford Bridge, with his best performances coming when out on loan with Crystal Palace in the 2017/18 season and now with the Cottagers.
After a summer that saw Lampard bring in a number of attacking additions, Loftus-Cheek was allowed to leave the club on-loan to link up with Scott Parker’s newly-promoted side.
After working his way into the Fulham team, the imposing midfielder has now started to showcase why he is so highly thought of at his parent club. While going out on loan at this stage of career may not be ideal, Lampard has insisted that the door is not closed on his return to the Blues first-team set-up, with the Chelsea boss hoping that the player can get back to the high level he has previously been at.
“The conversations I had with Ruben earlier in the season were that he wasn’t feeling as sharp as he wanted to be on the back of a really bad injury,” Lampard said at his pre-match press conference. “He felt he needed games and maybe he could get regular games elsewhere.
“Seeing him play recently, I see him looking fit, fresh and strong. We know he’s an obvious talent so it’s great. If he can keep that up hopefully through the season, and if he can get back to where he was and more, then I’ll be very happy and he’ll come back as our player, for sure.”
After a frustrating, injury-plagued last few years for the player, Lampard was delighted to see Loftus-Cheek’s recent strong showing against Tottenham in midweek
“I thought he played well and I was really pleased to see that because when Ruben was getting fit and was with us, I felt like we missed him last year,” Lampard said. “And when Ruben was getting fit, I was excited because I know the attributes he has and I wanted those attributes at the club.”
Chelsea head to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham on Saturday evening, Loftus-Cheek ineligible to play against his parent club.