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Loftus-Cheek says return to Palace “possible”


<> at Stamford Bridge on August 23, 2016 in London, England.

Michael Regan

Ruben Loftus-Cheek knows the hurdles he must cross to see playing time at Chelsea, it’s just a matter of execution at this point.

The England midfielder told the media that he has kept in constant contact with Blues manager Maurizio Sarri both while at the club and over the international break, and has specific instructions on how to improve.

“I’ve spoken a lot with Sarri in the past couple of weeks and he’s told me I need to learn tactically and his ways in training,” Loftus-Cheek said ahead of Chelsea’s matchup against Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge. “The quicker I get that then the more opportunities I will get to play.”

Still just 22 years old, Loftus-Cheek spent all of last season on loan at Crystal Palace, and earned a spot on the England World Cup squad. He was fantastic over the summer as Gareth Southgate deployed him in a true two-way central midfield role, utilized in distribution and attacking progression. However, he has yet to earn a consistent place in Sarri’s Chelsea first-team.

“There are a lot of games coming up,” Loftus-Cheek said, “so I think there will be more opportunities coming for players that are not playing every week. But I’m not sure when I am going to play. It is just down to me working hard in training.”

The 22-year-old has 34 career appearances for the Blues, but only six of those have been Premier League starts, and he has completed the full 90 minute in league play just twice. Eventually, playing time may become more important than where it comes from. It’s plausible that Loftus-Cheek could go looking for minutes back at Crystal Palace, as the Eagles have an open domestic loan slot available. “Possibly, but it is still far away,” Loftus-Cheek said about the possibility of returning to Palace. “There are still a lot of games to play and I just have to see what happens. Right now I am at Chelsea and my focus is at Chelsea and learning at Chelsea. That is in the future and we will deal with that when it comes.”

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