Ruben Loftus-Cheek is now fully fit and back in first-team training at Crystal Palace after undergoing extensive rehab back at Chelsea, with the midfielder admitting he couldn’t bring himself to back the Blues when the two sides met last weekend.
With Roy Hodgson and his players sitting just inside the relegation zone ahead of the final eight games of the 2017/18 campaign, this weekend’s trip to Huddersfield takes on a huge degree of importance for our chances of survival but with Wilfried Zaha, Mamadou Sakho, Yohan Cabaye and the aforementioned Loftus-Cheek all scheduled to take part in a full week of training, we should be primed and ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
Having always been earmarked as one of the most talented youngsters on Chelsea’s books, Ruben’s loan move to Palace this term has worked wonders for reputation within the game. Indeed, prior to his ankle injury, the 22-year-old was being talked up as a possible inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia but after spending more then a month on the sidelines, that hype has died down somewhat.
Now it’s up to Loftus-Cheek to recapture the form which saw so many neutrals sitting up to take notice, with the hopeful byproduct of helping Palace retain their place in the Premier League between now and May.
There had been plenty of talk from inside the Palace fan-base of a potential permanent move for Ruben this summer but with Chelsea sure to ask for a rather sizeable sum and the club’s top flight status far from secure just yet, it’s a conversation that we simply cannot have with any degree of tangible progress until May.
Whilst Loftus-Cheek himself has often spoken about his desire to play regularly in the Chelsea starting XI, this summer may provide him with the perfect opportunity to make a break and start afresh with us, getting the regular starts he so desires and hopefully waving goodbye to the niggling injury problems that have blighted his career to date.
There are bound to be a huge number of twists and turns between now and the end of the Premier League season but no one can question Ruben’s willingness to fight for the Palace cause.
Let’s hope we’re all smiling when the campaign reaches its climax.