The hype generated by Ruben Loftus-Cheek during the current international break has been quite remarkable with Palace legend Clinton Morrison the latest man to compare the 21-year-old favourably to an established Premier League star.
According to Clinton, Loftus-Cheek is every bit as good as Chelsea’s summer signing Tiémoué Bakayoko; a statement which indirectly questions the judgement of Blues boss Antonio Conte for allowing Ruben to leave Stamford Bridge in the first place.
Last week we saw Chris Sutton suggesting that Loftus-Cheek was a better player than World Cup winner Cesc Fabregas and now it feels as though an avalanche of talking heads are keen to get in on the act whilst the loanee’s stock remains high. Quite what that will do Ruben’s ego remains to be seen but you can pretty much guarantee that it will kill off our chances of signing him permanently in the summer if it continues; regardless of the division we’re playing in.
Even as a supporter who is pleased to see a young player getting deserved praise, I can’t help but feel that the explosion of interest in him after just one impressive performance in a friendly is a little over the top. Whilst he is undoubtedly talented and has the style and build of a player who could easily go far in the game, there is a lot to be said for keeping our young talents grounded rather than catapulting them prematurely on a road to superstardom.
I dare say Ruben himself is keen to get his head down and graft at Palace between now and May, ideally ending the season clear of the relegation zone. The high-reaching comparisons with football’s established stars are no doubt lovely for him to hear but he’ll know that to truly match and overtake those characters, he’ll have to put in the hard yards for years to come.