The role of Ruben Loftus-Cheek at Chelsea has been under the spotlight since the start of the season. Judging from new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri’s team selections so far, it doesn’t look as if 22-year-old is part of the gaffer’s long-term plans.
After a successful loan spell at Crystal Palace last season and having featured for England at the World Cup in Russia, Loftus-Cheek looked poised for a big campaign back at Chelsea. Four matches into the new season though, and it has become clear that he might be better off somewhere else in order to truly excel.
Sarri’s trust in Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho seems to have dampened the chances of Loftus-Cheek being one of the main midfielders in the team. Loftus-Cheek was named in the starting line-up for England’s 1-0 win over Switzerland on Tuesday evening, after being snubbed by Sarri for a place in the Chelsea starting line-up in all of the first four matches of the new Premier League season.
According to London Evening Standard the signing of Ross Barkley at the beginning of the year should already have been a warning sign to Loftus-Cheek, but under new management he optimistically returned to Chelsea earlier than expected in order to complete a full preseason.
It is understandable that Sarri doesn’t want to risk making too many changes after the positive start the Blues have had to the season. But, against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, Sarri opted for Barkley in the starting 11 with Kovacic on the bench, despite Loftus-Cheek being available.
Loftus-Cheek currently only has 20 minutes at Huddersfield and 10 minutes against Bournemouth under his belt, yet is so highly-rated that he started for his country before he started for his club this season. Somewhere in the system of building your career, this just doesn’t add up.
The quicker Loftus-Cheek gets an idea of where he fits into the Chelsea plan, the quicker he will be able to map out to rest of his career. But after a start like that, it would be wrong of him as one of the country’s finest young talents not to explore his options away from Stamford Bridge.