Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has enjoyed his rise from the club’s academy to join the first team.
The 22-year-old is seen as one of the highly rated players to have come out from the Chelsea academy in recent years. Having struggled to get into the first team, Loftus-Cheek spent last season on loan with Crystal Palace and he had a good campaign there which eventually earned him an England call-up and a place in the World Cup in Russia.
Loftus-Cheek is having his best season at Chelsea in terms of playing opportunities, and although still behind Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley, he has been highly involved from the bench for most games.
In an interview with the official Chelsea website, he revealed how his love for football started at a young age and he started out as a centre-back before being a midfielder, which is his preferred position.
In an interview with the Chelsea official website’s The Making Of Me, Loftus-Cheek said: “I realised I was good at football when I was really young. I went to a place called Charlton Challenge which was run in a leisure centre and I went with my age group, but they said I was too good and told me to come back the next day to play with the boys who were two or three years older.
“So I knew I was quite good and you dream of playing in the Premier League but you never really think about it happening. You just play football until about 11, 12 and then your parents are told.”
On his playing position, he revealed: “I had always played midfield for my Sunday league team and probably until about U11s, U12s, and then I started playing centre-back. Even though I had played in midfield, I was never seen as an attacking midfielder, I was always box-to-box or I played deep.
“It has changed now and I am seen as more of an attacking player. I always had that talent to manipulate the ball and I guess that is seen as useful in the more advanced areas of the pitch. But I played centre-back or defensive midfield until I was about 17 or 18 when I started playing no.10.”
Chelsea had gone more than 345 minutes without conceding a goal before the 2-1 win against Fulham as the team’s fortune has improved in recent weeks.
Loftus-Cheek who has featured as a substitute for most of the games revealed that the team has been doing a lot of work in training.
“We’ve been working a lot more on being solid as a team defensively,” he revealed. “I think that showed in the last couple of games, obviously keeping City at bay and then the clean sheet against Tottenham. So we’re improving on that and I think we’ve got enough talent in the team going forward that we can create chances and score goals.
“The system hasn’t been changed. We’ve been doing what we’re doing, playing how we’ve been playing since the start of the season. We’re just picking our moments, when to press and when to sit off and be compact. We’ve been loads better at staying compact as a team and pressing as a team throughout the game, so that’s improved.
“We are making progress. These days can happen where it just doesn’t go right, that’s football. Consistency in football is the hardest thing. To keep playing at a high level week in, week out, three times a week is very difficult. Consistency helps you win titles, so this is the biggest thing for us. If we can keep these top performances up we can be a great team.”