Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s recent comments do not reflect particularly well on Chelsea – or Antonio Conte.
The Blues academy product has been playing regular first-team football for the very first time in his career since joining Crystal Palace on a season-long loan in the summer transfer window.
Both Frank De Boer and Roy Hodgson have provided Loftus-Cheek with a platform to showcase his wealth of talent – and he was done so brilliantly so far this term.
His good performances for Palace caught the eye of England manager Gareth Southgate, who rewarded him with his first senior international call-up.
He put in a man of the match performance on his debut against Germany, proving that he is ready to perform on the biggest stage.
Loftus-Cheek may have been ready for some time now, but has not been given an opportunity to show it.
Speaking to the Croydon Advertiser, Loftus-Cheek revealed that he feels he has been held back by his lack of first-team football:
“It was tough, mentally, at Chelsea not getting the game time, but I had to be really patient and have the mentality to still train right and do all the right things.”
“A lack of games held me back, definitely. When I had a chance, and when you don’t play, you really feel the difference of what matches give you; the match sharpness, the fitness, the strength.”
An all too familiar story…
Unfortunately, it is very rare that a youngster will be given a chance to prove they’re ready to play for the Chelsea first-team.
The club continually opt to appoint short-term thinkers. Neither Jose Mourinho or Antonio Conte showed any real desire to integrate younger players.
Despite both of their successes at Stamford Bridge, that will have to go down as one of their major failures.