Ruben Loftus-Cheek: what needs to happen?
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: what needs to happen?
Taking a proactive look at how to get RLC back to his best
We all know and love Ruben Loftus-Cheek. At just the tender age of 21, he is swiftly approaching a pivotal part in his career and development. The massive box-to-box marauder showed Chelsea fans brief glimpses of his power, pace, and endless potential. So what is best for Ruben?
The ideal situation is quite clear: RLC needs to be on the pitch to enjoy some type of success. Antonio Conte is reluctant to play Ruben on a regular basis leaving him without a true squad role. When he has gotten on the pitch, he has been deployed next to Chelsea new boy, Michy Batshuayi. Ruben lacked the killer instinct that a natural striker should possess in an experimental 4-2-4 formation. Part of this can be attributed to the brilliance of Nathaniel Chalobah as this youngster has undeniably impressed the Italian gaffer over the course of the season with his positional awareness and technical ability. This has ultimately ran RLC off of the pitch.
The other part of Ruben lacking chances can be attributed to the lack of a system at the beginning of the season. Ruben made three appearances this season, two of which were as the second striker in the aforementioned 4-2-4, which did not suit his game. The lack of cup football is going to hurt his chances of getting playing time and considering the winning formula Conte has seemingly pieced together, it does not make much sense to give Ruben a go at this juncture.
This dilemma can be solved very simply: Ruben needs a loan! I know what you are thinking…and no, not Sunderland, or Hull, or even Middlesbrough for that matter. The midfield powerhouse is still young and with that being said, he needs to be in a dressing room that plays positive football. He needs to play for a Championship side who will fight for promotion. Playing in a side that sits back and absorbs pressure all match will not help him technically or tactically. With potential such as Ruben’s, it is crucial for him to be getting ample playing time at a club who plays attacking, yet balanced football. Sending him into a relegation battle in the Premier League will only hinder his chances. He won’t see the ball nor will he see very much sight of the goal. If he slots into a Championship side, he will flourish. Who doesn’t want to establish a good relationship with a club like Chelsea by initiating a loan move like this?
Newcastle, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Huddersfield all seem like suitable options. They are the most successful in the English Championship thus far and have former Premier League players as well. They are going to be willing to provide him with ample playing time and, most importantly, will give him the ability to win while he is on the pitch. Being 20 years old with the world on your shoulders is not easy, especially when coming from a major powerhouse like Chelsea. This move is essential for him to develop and gain the confidence necessary to succeed at Stamford Bridge.
Take Tammy Abraham, a Chelsea lad and leading goal scorer of the U-21 Academy team last season: he makes the move to the Championship with Bristol City and is currently the second-highest goal scorer in the league after smashing in nine goals to go along with two assists in just 16 appearances. In fact, he has made such a huge splash in the Championship that Conte even gave him praise labelling him as the “future of Chelsea.” This goes without saying that Conte can be won over while playing in a different division. If Tammy can do it, there should not be a reason why Ruben can’t.
Ruben’s form for the England U-21 side is nothing to scoff at either. He has been earning a lot of praise and generating plenty of buzz within his age group. In 15 caps, Ruben has managed to notch five goals. When he sees the pitch and gains the confidence of the gaffer, he essentially selects himself for the squad. Managers all around England are aware of his talents and what he is capable of. He can easily replicate this form for Chelsea. It would not be out of the ordinary either; last season he had 18 total appearances and looked like a footballer who was approaching his eventual breakout.
Playing time is crucial. His confidence will come with time. It is too early to be worried about his form this season. If a loan move away from the Bridge comes along, he should take it. Not only will it get him back in stride, but it will finally allow Antonio Conte to decide where he will be needed on the pitch. This is not just a move for him to develop, but it is imperative for him to gain his confidence back. A loan would supply him with the perfect opportunity. And when he makes the move back to the Bridge at the season’s end, he will be ready to fight for his place in Conte’s rotation for the following season.
Question: do you think Ruben should be loaned out? If so, where?
Leave your answer in the comments section!
Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!
Author: Zachary Khoury