Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat by Huddersfield may have been a hugely humiliating experience for the most part but thanks to the performance of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, we were at least given something to go home feeling slightly cheerful about.
Before I get too into the swing of things here, I know there are plenty of Palace fans who’ll be running at me with figurative pitchforks for daring to express my admiration for a player who is only at the club on loan but with another 37 Premier League games still to play, I feel it’s fair to express a degree of excitement over what Ruben will bring to our midfield between now and May.
Despite being deployed in a more attacking role than anyone expected during the opening 45 minutes, the 21-year-old applied himself admirably throughout before really coming into his own when occupying a deeper position in the second half. On first glance, it would be easy to underestimate the Chelsea academy man’s technical attributes thanks to his sizeable frame but after just 90 minutes of competitive football in red and blue, I’m sold on him.
Unlike Patrick Bamford and Loic Remy, (two Chelsea players who’ve spent time on loan in SE25 over the last couple of years) Loftus-Cheek is a man who always seems desperate to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. Tackling back, looking for an open man and possessing the skill to put his plans into action, he’s a midfielder who looks, albeit early on, to have everything he’ll need to be a roaring success for the Eagles.
Of course, if he does perform as well as he did against Huddersfield for the rest of the campaign, there is next to no chance of us keeping hold of him beyond the summer but that is a bridge we should only look to cross when the time calls for it. Until then, I’m content to enjoy what the England U21 star has to offer us.