RUBEN TO FULHAM: THE ROAD BACK TO CHELSEA AND ENGLAND
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has completed a season-long loan move to recently promoted Fulham to get some valuable playing time.
Following a lengthy injury, it has been a difficult period of time for the Lewisham born midfielder and he will feel this is a big opportunity to impress Chelsea manager Frank Lampard.
It is evident that this season Loftus-Cheek is not a major part of the Chelsea boss’ plans.
With the squad being greatly strengthened over the summer with the likes of Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz, the 24-year-old has fallen out of favor.
This is a sad sight to behold, as there was a time when the Englishman was looking like one of the top prospects in the league.
In the 2018/19 season, under the management of Maurizio Sarri, he was able to demonstrate this.
Having been given much more playing time that year, Loftus-Cheek played a vital role in Chelsea’s progression to the Europa League Final and contributed in the Premier League to help secure 3rd place.
During that season he managed an impressive goal every 113 minutes in all competitions.
Quite the record for a midfielder.
Unfortunately for him the season did not end the way he had hoped.
A devastating injury in a friendly against New England Revolution, rupturing his Achilles tendon, meant he would miss the Europa League Final that year.
Sadly, this was not where the pain ended for him.
The injury ruled Loftus-Cheek out for the majority of the 2019/20 season, and just when it looked like he was returning to full fitness, coronavirus disrupted and delayed his highly anticipated return.
In the end, he only made seven appearances totaling to a mere 205 minutes of football.
As mentioned earlier, it has been a very difficult time for the player, but he has fought hard to recover and will hope this pays off at Fulham.
If given the right playing time this could end up being a fantastic bit of business from both Chelsea and Fulham.
In terms of outright ability and talent, there is no doubt that Loftus-Cheek has it, but the question will remain whether he can stay injury-free and return to the form he has previously shown.
It will be fascinating to see how he fits into this side and whether he can be the man to help guide Fulham to survival in the Premier League.
Standing at 6’3”, rather unique for his position, Loftus-Cheek uses his body effectively and is not easy to take off the ball.
With an eye for goal and good passing and dribbling ability, he offers a wide range of talent.
The management of former England midfielder Scott Parker may also really help to develop his game even further and could have played a big factor in why he has made the move there.
With 34 fixtures left to play this season, Loftus-Cheek will be hoping to get involved right from the off-set and impress the Fulham fans and manager.
Having lost four games from four it has not been the start to the year the West London side wanted.
With the additions of Joachim Andersen and Tosin Adarabioyo on deadline day as well, Parker will feel as though the team have given themselves the best chance of avoiding relegation this season.
This will not be the midfielder's first loan move out to another Premier League club, as in the 2017/18 season he played 25 games for Crystal Palace.
Loftus-Cheek was able to really establish himself and he greatly impressed in a Crystal Palace side that had a rough start to the season.
After scoring two goals and providing three assists that year he caught the eye of England manager Gareth Southgate earning himself a call up to the squad.
He even featured at the 2018 World Cup picking up one assist in the four games he played in.
Similarly to what has happened at Chelsea, Loftus-Cheek has lost his place in the England squad.
However, Southgate has recently stated that if he can regain his form at Fulham that the door into the England squad is open for him.
This adds even more weight to the loan move for the player as he needs to be playing regular football to get back to the stage he was before.
This is going to be a crucial season for him, and it is vital that he can find his form.
If he cannot it may end up being a tale of what could have been for Ruben Loftus-Cheek.