Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek has opened the door to a potential Palace return whilst discussing his quest for playing time with Maurizio Sarri’s Blues.
The 22-year-old was part of the England squad which took on Spain and Switzerland over the international break, with Southgate handing him a start against the Swiss at Leicester’s King Power Stadium on Tuesday night. Clearly, the England gaffer is a huge fan of Ruben’s but without regular starts at Stamford Bridge, it will become more and more difficult to justify his selection with the Three Lions.
Having played just 33 minutes of football for Chelsea during the 2018/19 campaign, the Lewisham-born midfielder is hopeful of gaining more game-time once the club begin the grind of regular Europa League ties, given the extra strain it will place on Sarri’s currently favoured starting XI. When pressed on how he felt about a potential return to SE25 should his wish not become a reality, the midfielder was diplomatic, refusing the chance to shut it down altogether as many would have expected.
Roy Hodgson’s side still have one loan slot available to fill in the January window and have made no secret of how keen they are to re-sign Ruben, making it a call that the player and his parent club will have to pull the trigger when the time arises. A fair few Chelsea fans were underwhelmed by his display in midweek but without regular games at domestic level, a bit of rust should always be expected.
There has been a fair bit of discussion over a new long-term contract being put on the table by Chelsea’s board but with his place in the first-team squad still so precarious, I’d imagine Loftus-Cheek is unsure about putting pen to paper just yet. It always felt as though we were on a hiding to nothing trying to bring him back over the summer but if he continues to warm the bench throughout autumn, the New Year may bring good news for those of us who want to see him back in red and blue.