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Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek featured for the first time in a competitive game after more than a year, as the Blues defeated Aston Villa 2-1 at the Villa Park on Sunday.
Loftus-Cheek had suffered from a long-term injury in the friendly game against New England Revolution last May, and coupled with the suspension of the Premier League, his absence from football was extended.
After featuring for 55 minutes against Villa, Loftus-Cheek has now admitted that it feels good to be back.
“Honestly it felt amazing after so long without playing, 13 months since my last competitive game,” Loftus-Cheek told Chelsea’s official website.
“To get on the pitch, even though there were no fans and it felt slightly different, it was amazing to feel that competitive spirit again.
“I’m just being grateful to be playing. I started against Aston Villa and I didn’t play as well as I wanted to play, but I just came off the pitch thinking I can’t be angry about that. I’ve just been out for 13 months.
“I did feel a yard off at times, physically and mentally, the feel of the game, how you would when you’re sharp and playing every week. I couldn’t say I felt like that. It’s hard to explain. You don’t have that smell for the game but it will come back the more I play.
“I wasn’t too hard on myself, I’m just happy to play and grateful to be back on the pitch. Slowly as I play more that sharpness will get better, and physically I will feel much better as well.”