Despite a good season on loan at Crystal Palace last season and also representing England in the World Cup at the end of last season, Chelsea youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek still found it hard to break into the Chelsea first team.
The academy product mostly found himself behind Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley for most part of the season, but has recently been a mainstay in Maurizio Sarri’s first team.
Despite featuring more prominently for Chelsea recently having broken through Sarri’s first team, Loftus-Cheek has played fewer Premier League minutes than 14 members of Sarri’s squad.
Despite his restricted appearances for Chelsea this season, only Eden Hazard (16) and Pedro (eight) have scored more Premier League goals than the 23-year-old.
Following Loftus-Cheek’s fine form against Watford, Garth Crooks has now told the England international to consider his future at Stamford Bridge.
“This is a lad I thought was better off staying at Crystal Palace on loan, playing every week and continuing his international development as a consequence of playing regularly,” Crooks told BBC Sport.
“However the player decided to return to Chelsea – or more to the point, the club insisted he returned. ‘Immediately his game time dropped, he lost all the momentum he gained from his time at Palace and he struggled to be the star his performances suggest he might be.
“It’s time Ruben Loftus-Cheek made some serious decisions about his career at Chelsea. The lad can play, as was clearly evident against Watford.”
Loftus-Cheek has now revealed that his confidence han increased following his consistent performance in recent times.
Loftus-Cheek said: “My confidence is growing. With my fitness, the last time I played a full season without injury was when I was 17, and that was the season I played half a season because I moved up to the first team, so I don’t think I’ve every really played a full season, through my younger days as well.
“So it’s been a difficult journey, but I think I’ve learned a lot about my body and I have to take care of it. I’m finding that balance of routine now to keep myself feeling good and the more games I play I’ll get fitter and fitter, so it’s building. I feel good at the moment and we’ve got a routine here at Chelsea that me and the physios have worked on to help me feel good.
“It’s not something new to me. I’ve had to deal with it through my life, but having to deal with it at a younger age has helped me now to keep my head. I have to keep working hard and one day I’ll get it right and be flying.”