Lampard hails Barkley for controlling the midfield after replacing Loftus-Cheek

Photo: Reuters

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 24, has endured a number of injury setbacks so far in his career. The Blues academy product has always been highly rated, but injuries have never allowed him to get to the heights his talent deserves.

He was sidelined from May 2019 to June 2020 with an Achilles problem, and since his return last season, he has not been able to get back to his form.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard gave him a starting opportunity against Brighton on Monday night, and the England international looked below par in that game.

Ross Barkley was brought in place of Loftus-Cheek just after the hour mark, and Barkley helped Chelsea control the midfield better, much to the delight of Frank Lampard who was pleased with his performance.

“I think with Ross, that’s where I’m talking about the shape of the team,” Lampard told Chelsea TV as he hailed Barkley’s impact.

“We ended up a little bit too advanced in high areas. Everybody [was] advanced. I felt that Ross would come and link it a bit more between the lines and just steady us down and get more passes in.

“He did that for us and that helped us gain a bit more control from then on.”

For Loftus-Cheek, he was explosive during his loan spell at Crystal Palace two seasons ago, and upon his return to Chelsea, he convinced Maurizio Sarri with his stunning displays, as he became a key player, before getting injured in a friendly fixture against New England Revolution.

We all know what Loftus-Cheek can do on his best days. However, he may have to go out on loan again to regain his best form. At 24, he’s no longer a youngster, and a loan deal will help regain his form and confidence.

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