This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has told Versus that he thinks he is most effective as a box-to-box midfielder.
The 23-year-old has unfortunately been out of action since May this year, when he damaged his Achilles during an end of season friendly against New England Revolution.
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Now, though, the £27m-rated man – as per Transfermarkt – is in the latter stages of his recovery, and could soon be available to Frank Lampard once again. Speaking to Versus, the England international has explained what kind of player he sees himself as.
He said: “I’m most effective as a box-to-box midfielder. Getting up and down, creating and also defending. I’ve played in a number of positions because I’m versatile so it’s easy for managers to move me around. I played left and right midfield at Palace but I managed to do well. That’s cool when you’re coming up but as I’m maturing I kinda want to nail down one position and hopefully that position is box to box.”
It comes as no surprise, but there have been plenty of comparisons made between Mason Mount and Frank Lampard already this season. The midfielder is young, English, and played under the Derby County boss last season, whilst he has also proved valuable in front of goal, scoring four times in the league.
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Loftus-Cheek, though, is a far more sensible comparison to the Blues’ record goalscorer, especially bearing in mind these recent comments. Lampard himself was a box-to-box player, albeit one of the best in Premier League history.
Mount is a more attacking-minded midfielder. This season, he has played the majority of his games in the number 10 role, with some appearances coming on the left wing as well. He is a talented player, no doubt, but this is not the kind of position that a box-to-box player takes up.
As a central midfielder, just like his boss, Loftus-Cheek is a better fit to make that kind of impact, and he has the attributes to do it very effectively. Last season, he scored 10 goals in just 14 starts across the Premier League and the Europa League, whilst he averaged an impressive 3.6 dribbles per match in the European competition.
His season was unfortunately cut short by that damaging injury, but he showed with his power – he makes full use of his 6 ft 2 in frame – and eye for goal just what he can offer Lampard.
The Mount-Lampard comparison was obvious, yes, but Loftus-Cheek could be the true heir.
Returning from injury, he could soon have the chance to prove it.