Having enjoyed more first-team starts in four months at Crystal Palace than he has in four years at Chelsea, it’s little surprise to hear that Ruben Loftus-Cheek is enjoying his time in SE25; not that it’s stopped Blues fans from imploring Antonio Conte to recall him.
Given the impressive displays the 21-year-old has made both domestically and at full international level, we probably shouldn’t be surprised to see the media questioning Chelsea’s boss over the possibility of a premature return to Stamford Bridge for Ruben, not that his manager’s comments gave any impression of it being a serious possibility.
After struggling to get first-team football for so long in west London the simple idea behind his loan move to Selhurst Park was to ensure he got a regular competitive football and proved his worth; a task he has taken to like a duck to water since breaking into the Palace side back in August.
Being used week after week by Roy Hodgson, his blossoming relationship with Wilfried Zaha has been remarked upon by a number of pundits, whilst the goal he scored in Palace’s last home game against Stoke City proved to be a vital one, giving us the springboard to secure all three points through Mamadou Sakho’s stoppage-time winner.
Whilst the temptation to bring Ruben back into the fold may be strong, you would like to think that both Conte and his coaching staff are aware of the positive impact playing regularly for Palace is having on the midfielder’s game. What happens in the summer is an entirely different prospect, particularly if Gareth Southgate decides to include him in the England squad heading out to Russia but until then, I don’t think I’m bending the truth by saying that he’ll be best served by doing all he can to help us fight our way off the foot of the table and into a position of relative safety.