Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been a Chelsea player since joining the under-8s age group. Unlike many Chelsea youngsters, he has never been out on loan. Next season could be the first time that Loftus-Cheek is not playing his football at Stamford Bridge. Here are three reasons why a loan spell might be the best option for Loftus-Cheek.
Needs more game time
The main reason is that Loftus-Cheek spends more time spent on the pitch than the bench. This season, under Antonio Conte, he has made just three Premier League appearances. All of them have been as a substitute. In order to fulfill his potential, he will have to move elsewhere. The England midfielder could go on loan to a Premier League or Championship club.
Beneficial for his development
Loftus-Cheek is obviously talented but that’s not enough. In order to fully develop into the fantastic box-to-box midfielder that he can be, he must be playing first team football. He started against Denmark for England Under 21s on Monday, scoring twice and providing an assist. The youngster was clearly delighted to be part of the team doing what he loves most, playing football.
Some of Loftus Cheek’s teammates have really benefited from going on loan. Nathan Ake (22) is just one example. Ake had made just five Premier League appearances for Chelsea before going on loan at Watford last season. While at Vicarage Road the Dutch defender made 24 appearances in one season (four from the bench). This is more than Loftus-Cheek has made in three seasons at Chelsea (19 Premier League appearances, 13 from the bench).
Ake went on loan again this season, to Bournemouth and made a huge difference. He made 10 Premier League appearances (two from the bench) and scored three times including the winner in a 4-3 thriller against Liverpool in December. Due to his impressive performances down on the south coast, Ake was recalled from Bournemouth in January. On his return, Conte said: “He’s showing he deserves to stay in a great team like Chelsea.” Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe described losing Ake as a huge blow and said it would be “easier said than done” to recruit a similar player.
Tammy Abraham (19) is another Chelsea player currently on loan. He is at Championship side Bristol City and has made 40 appearances, scoring 22 goals since the start of the season.
A loan spell could be just what Loftus-Cheek needs to take him to the next level and help him on his journey to become a first-team player at his boyhood club Chelsea.
Loftus-Cheek has never been at another club. Staying in one place for too long is perfectly fine if there is progression. If not, other options should be explored. Most players join the academy of a club at a very young age and that is all they have ever known. A change of scenery might do Loftus-Cheek the world of good and allow him to flourish. Jack Wilshere, for example, has been at Arsenal since he was nine and apart from being loaned out to Bolton Wanderers for the second half of the 2009/10 season, he has never left.
However, this season, he joined Bournemouth on loan and has made 23 Premier League appearances so far. That is four more appearances than he had made in his last three seasons at Arsenal. Wilshere is finding his form and maintaining his fitness at Arsenal. Loftus Cheek has a bright ahead of him both for Chelsea and England. It would be a shame to his gift and aptitude for the sport go to waste.