What Frank Lampard said about Ruben Loftus-Cheek last year will send Chelsea fans crazy
Lampard is the new Chelsea manager after being named the successor to Maurizio Sarri.
And many fans are eager to see how he manages hot prospect Loftus-Cheek – who at 23 should be making a decent pledge to be a first-team regular.
The Englishman was ravaged by injuries last season, limiting his time on the pitch – and even now he is ruled out until late into the year with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon.
But the former Crystal Palace loanee has demonstrated his importance to the side already after becoming an integral part of Sarri’s Europa League winning squad.
The midfielder was part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad last year in the Russian World Cup, where they reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.
And Chelsea fans will be very interested to read back on Lampard’s comments on Loftus-Cheek, back when he was a pundit for BBC Sport.
He said in a column in June 2018: “Ruben is someone I know really well from when he was coming through the youth ranks at Chelsea.
“Straight away he made an impression because of his physical attributes, but he knew how to play too – he had great ability and even then he could drift past people on the ball.
“He does that even better now, with his pace and power when he is running at you, which makes him different from a lot of modern-day midfield players – and puts a fear into the opposition that they do not usually have.
“That is what he will bring to England’s midfield against Panama, and his versatility makes him even more unique.
“Ruben is often used as an advanced midfielder, but he is neat and tidy enough on the ball to play as a link-man deeper in midfield.”
Loftus-Cheek has since become an important member of Southgate’s England squads, who wants to see him play more to stake a claim as the main man for the Three Lions.
Lampard added in his BBC Sport column: “We have already seen from his performance on his England debut against Germany in November that Ruben is not fazed by the big occasion – he was the man of the match.
“He believes in his ability, which is a big gift when you are trying to establish yourself at international level. You can see that by the way he picks the ball up and runs at people so much.
“What he will have to deal with now is expectancy. People have been calling for him to be in the England team, and to come back to Chelsea – quite rightly so on both counts.
“But now he has to really produce. What I want to see him do if he starts against Panama is show his best form and really grab the game by the scruff of the neck.
“I am not overstating the part he could play for England on Sunday, because he can do everything – on paper he does not have a weakness.”