Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been backed to make an impact at Chelsea next season with Frank Lampard hoping the midfielder will be like a new signing for the club. Loftus-Cheek has been sidelined for the majority of the current campaign with an Achilles injury but is back to full fitness now and looking to make up for lost time.
The England midfielder made his first start after the coronavirus shutdown during Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Norwich on Tuesday.
Loftus-Cheek lasted 67 minutes before being replaced by Ross Barkley, with Lampard carefully managing the 24-year-old’s game time.
Get Sky Sports for just £25 per month for 3 months
Get BT Sport for HALF PRICE
And the Blues boss hopes that a full pre-season will mean the midfielder will have the same impact as new arrivals Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech next term.
Asked if a fully-fit Loftus-Cheek will be like a new signing, Lampard said: “I hope so. It’s difficult for Ruben right now, because of how long he’s had out, because of the stop-start of lockdown and the restart.
JUST IN: Sports quiz questions and answers: 15 questions for your virtual pub quiz
“But he’s worked really hard to get where he is right now. In terms of his body and his fitness, we have to give him a little bit of credit and time.
“These games now, he started against Norwich, he’s made little impacts along the way. It may look like that for him in these next few games.
“But what I want is a Ruben firing straight out the blocks for pre-season and next season.”
Loftus-Cheek suffered a serious Achilles injury during a post-season friendly at the end of last season, sidelining him for the majority of the 2019/20 campaign.
Frank Lampard warned Hakim Ziyech is a coach’s nightmare ahead of Chelsea transfer
Lampard told Chelsea players they were not good enough to wear the badge against Leicester
Chelsea new boy Timo Werner backed to be big Blues success because of two key qualities
But the extended postponement due to the coronavirus outbreak has allowed the Chelsea ace time to regain his fitness and play a part in Lampard’s youthful revolution at Stamford Bridge this season.
Loftus-Cheek is one of several academy graduates in the first-team squad, with Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, Fikayo Tomori and Billy Gilmour all making an impression.
“I know the talent he has, I know what he can bring us,” said Lampard when asked about Loftus-Cheek.
“It’s very individual. It’s different from what the rest of the squad bring for us, his physicality and touch on the ball. Those minutes will do him really good.”
Despite a wealth of young talent at his disposal, Lampard is still looking to recruit heavily this summer with Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell reportedly priority targets ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Defensive reinforcements and a new goalkeeper are also desired, meaning the Chelsea hierarchy will be busy once the transfer window opens on July 27.
The Premier League have confirmed, subject to the approval of FIFA, that the window will open the day after the domestic season finishes and will run for 10 weeks.
This will be followed by a domestic-only window from October 5 to October 16, during which Premier League clubs will not be allowed to deal with each other but can trade with EFL clubs.
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here
Source: Read Full Article