Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s selection as part of the England squad heading out to Russia in a week or so has left plenty of Chelsea fans drooling over the prospect of him becoming a regular part of the Blues’ first-team next season but in eyes of Pat Nevin, staying at Stamford Bridge would be a bad move for the 22-year-old.
Having never played regular first-team football before his season-long loan at Selhurst Park, Ruben still has a lot to learn in Nevin’s view, with a return to Chelsea potentially halting his growth as a player and a professional. Whilst the Scot isn’t suggesting that Loftus-Cheek should be let go on a permanent basis, his call for the dynamic midfielder to spend another season away from his parent club is likely to sound a little drastic to some.
I can’t comment with any certainty over how often Nevin has been able to watch Ruben during his time in red and blue but I struggle to comprehend how he can arrive at the conclusion of the youngster not being ready for Chelsea, given the nature of his performances for Palace. That may sound a little counterproductive coming from a fan who would love nothing more than for Chelsea to sanction another season-long deal but in truth, I’m frustrated on Loftus-Cheek’s behalf.
As Roy Hodgson said recently, Ruben is a player with no real weaknesses; a man who possesses the sort of talent to go all the way to the top of the game if the cards fall in his favour. Perhaps Nevin is correct about the difficulties he would have playing every week at Chelsea but I would wager that he’ll change his tune if Loftus-Cheek starts and plays well against the collective might of Tunisia and Panama in the World Cup group stages.
The hype surrounding Ruben will reach fever-pitch if he does perform to his full potential in Russia and I would fully expect Nevin to fall in line with the adoring masses in such a scenario. I’m happy to be proven wrong but I and thousands of others know how quickly pundits change their views once something is placed in front of their face.