After gaining his first call-up to the senior England squad earlier this month and taking part in both friendlies, Ruben Loftus-Cheek has started to make a name for himself on the international stage. But, as we have seen a lot in the past few years at Chelsea, they haven’t been particularly bothered when it comes to keeping youth players happy.
The most recent examples can be seen as recently as during the summer transfer window. Dominic Solanke, one of England’s best young strikers, was released and joined Liverpool for a tribunal fee that is still being discussed but expected to be somewhere in the region of £3 million, and Nathaniel Chalobah, another of the country’s brightest talents, was sold to Watford for around £6 million. Both bargains when compared to the ridiculous money being thrown about for some of the other young players.
This just goes to show that despite having some of the Premier League’s best young talent on their books, Chelsea aren’t interested in developing the talent they have at their disposal. And after Loftus-Cheek’s integration into the national squad and man-of-the-match performance against Germany, they would be foolish to do the same again. There aren’t many English players who have had better debuts than the 21-year-old as he controlled the midfield in a 0-0 Wembley draw with the Germans.
His all-around performance was very good and he certainly didn’t look out of place in Gareth Southgate’s England side, especially after seeing Jake Livermore and Jordan Henderson as the partnership in the last few months. For the lovers of skill, there were some moments of magic from Loftus-Cheek, as he executed two consecutive nutmegs; one straight through the legs of Manchester City wide man, Leroy Sane. His close control was fantastic, his passing was sublime more often than not and he was willing to put the yards in defensively, so it begs the question: why has he not been given a chance at Chelsea?
The 6’3 midfielder has been shipped out on loan to fellow Premier League side, Crystal Palace, in the hope that he will receive some valuable top-flight experience. Although, after spending £75 million on Tiémoué Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater, Antonio Conte is showing no signs that Loftus-Cheek is anywhere near his immediate first-team plans. The Italian tactician isn’t the first Blues boss to snub him though as Jose Mourinho didn’t allow him a loan a couple of seasons ago but then failed to provide him with adequate game time.
The young England starlet has shown how good he is so far this term and has been one shining light in an abysmal Crystal Palace season. He looks destined to reach the top and after he publicly said that he has been held back by Chelsea, it seems as though a permanent move away from Stamford Bridge might be on the cards at the end of his Eagles loan.
If he chooses to follow in the footsteps of several other talented young Englishman by leaving West London, it will lead to Blues fans becoming increasingly frustrated and may even put Conte under threat of losing his job. `It is vital for English football that these quality youngsters are given a chance in the top-flight and Chelsea definitely aren’t showing any signs of supporting it. This may force them to lose another great young English player and who will blame Ruben Loftus-Cheek if he decides to pack his bags?