For all the fantastic things that Chelsea football club have achieved over the last decade, one aspect that seemed to elude them constantly was the ability to bring academy products into the first-team in an effective manner. Despite boasting what has been widely accepted as the best youth system in the whole of England, the Blues manager generally struggled with making space for the younger names within the first-team squad.
With Frank Lampard now at the helm though, things have taken a massive U-turn at Stamford Bridge. Youth is the general trend in the side, as young players like Reece James and Billy Gilmour have been presented with invaluable opportunities to prove themselves to the Blues’ faithful. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is an important Chelsea player now, but turn the clock back a couple of years, and the Englishman was in the same boat as all the other youngsters who’ve come and gone.
What Is Loftus-Cheek’s Legacy At Chelsea So Far?
The 24-year-old initially broke into the first-team roster back in the summer of 2015, but actually found it quite hard to make a name for himself in the side. Although the signs of his quality were obviously positive, the midfielder wasn’t given nearly enough playing time in his first few years in the big-time to prove himself to the staff and fans alike. A loan spell at Crystal Palace turned out to be the Englishman’s stepping stone into the Chelsea first-team though.
He regularly featured under Maurizio Sarri last season and was seen as one of the many players who were going to drive this Chelsea team into the next generation of Premier League football. As it turned out though, on the back of a quite sensational season, the midfielder picked up an unfortunate long-term ligament injury, which kept him out of the Blues’ Europa League final against Arsenal at the end of last campaign.
What Attributes Do Loftus-Cheek Add To This Chelsea Team?
The 24-year-old’s preference is to be deployed as either one of the midfield anchors, or in a slightly advanced role where he could have an impact in the attacking sense too. Strong, tall and possessing all the attributes of a modern-day box-to-box midfielder, Loftus-Cheek is an excellent carrier of the ball from the middle of the park.
Nemanja Matic, for all the excellent work he did at Stamford Bridge, was often undervalued for his contributions. The Englishman has the right skill-set to be the Serbian’s successor in the role, with an added emphasis on going forward.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek Is An Important Chelsea Player: What Should The Fans Expect From Him Next Season?
Frank Lampard’s youth revolution is now well and truly underway at Stamford Bridge. The arrival of Hakim Ziyech will be great news, but it could pose Lampard with a new positional dilemma. The Moroccan is widely regarded as a winger but is arguably at his best when playing in the number ten slot.
With names like Ross Barkley, Mason Mount and soon enough Loftus-Cheek, already available, it could become a concern. With that said though, all four of the aforementioned aces are versatile enough to play in a variety of positions, meaning that all of this could end up working in the Chelsea gaffer’s favour at the end of the day.