Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek admits that he would like to play more regular first-team football, but acknowledges the need to be “patient” at the club.
Filed: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 18:22 UK
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 18:22 UK
The 22-year-old was denied an exit from Stamford Bridge this summer but has made just two substitute appearances for Chelsea in the Premier League so far, with Sarri preferring the likes of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley and Mateo Kovacic.
Loftus-Cheek has still managed to keep his place in the England squad – which he initially earned during a successful loan spell with Crystal Palace last season – but he admits that he still needs more first-team football to continue his development.
“Being 22 feels quite old, considering some of the boys were playing when they were 17 or 18. I’d like to have more appearances by now, but it’s just the way my journey has gone, and I just have to be patient with it. I can see it as a positive; I’m playing for England, playing well when I play, and that’s without too many appearances so it’s still raw in that sense,” he told Sky Sports News.
“Being at Chelsea, it’s a top club with top players. When I’m training at 17 or 18 with the first team, it was really good for my education playing with these top players. I really enjoyed playing and training with them, I could feel myself getting better every day and improving, but it got to a point where training wasn’t enough and you need the exposure in the Premier League.
“That’s when I took the chance to go to Palace, and even when that happened, I thought I could’ve done it earlier. I started really enjoying my football, playing in the Premier League every week, and I felt the benefits.
“The benefit of last season at Palace [was first-team football]. I was fortunate enough to be fit for that period where it’s like a game every three days over Christmas, and I got my body used to being able to play, have a rest, then play on a Tuesday. That was massive for me and I coped with it well.”
Loftus-Cheek has made only 13 starts for Chelsea since initially breaking into the first team in 2014.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek hails Sergio Busquets