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Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri handed Ruben Loftus-Cheek a start against Brighton after the midfielder scored Chelsea’s winning goal in the 2-1 win at Cardiff.

Loftus-Cheek impressed against Brighton with the 23-year-old midfielder scoring a superb goal and creating another for Eden Hazard as the Blues ran out 3-0 victors.

Loftus-Cheek was substituted in the 82nd minute for Mateo Kovacic and Sarri revealed after the game that the midfielder was withdrawn with a minor hamstring issue.

The 23-year-old midfielder has struggled all season long with back pain which he has had for several years but has been able to train lately without any issues with his back.

“Loftus-Cheek for the first time he doesn’t have a problem with his back so in the last 20 days was able to train every day,” Sarri said.

“He played well, scored a wonderful goal but, after 75 minutes, he had a problem with his hamstring – only cramp I think.

“Tomorrow I want to be sure about his problem with his back. I have to say another thing. We are talking about Callum and Ruben but I was impressed by Christensen. So I want to speak also about him because in the last period, he played five or six matches very well.”

Sarri also hailed Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and Callum Hudson-Odoi as the future of Chelsea after the trio started and impressed against Brighton.

“I think it’s important Callum and Ruben and Christensen – he isn’t English, but he’s the same as he’s an academy graduate – it’s important for the club but also for the fans,” Sarri said.

“I hope so (they can be the foundation for success at Chelsea). I think so but I hope so. They are very important players but the potential is high up so in the future they can become top players. I think for this team the future could be good.”

When asked about the potential struggle to keep all three, Sarri added: “I don’t know, sometimes it’s impossible to do something. As you can see in other teams, it’s difficult to keep the young players especially here in England because the view is that if you’re under 18 is that you can only sign for two years. So it’s a big risk for the club.”

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