Loftus-Cheek takes swipe at Chelsea
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has slammed Chelsea for stalling his development with a lack of first-team opportunities.
Loftus-Cheek has been with the Blues since 2004 when he joined the youth ranks and he made his senior debut in December 2014, replacing Cesc Fabregas for the final seven minutes of a Champions League group match against Sporting at Stamford Bridge.
However, the 21-year-old has struggled to cement down a regular first-team place since, making just 22 Premier League appearances, and he was shipped out on a season-long loan to Crystal Palace this summer.
The midfielder has thrived with the Eagles, appearing in seven league matches, and he made his debut for England in the 0-0 friendly draw against world champions Germany, earning the man-of-the-match award in the process.
Loftus-Cheek says he is enjoying his spell at Palace and he has taken a huge swipe at parent club Chelsea, sparking rumours he will be leaving permanently in the January transfer window.
"I think in the last two or three years I've had to be patient," he told the Croydon Advertiser. "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.
"It's what you need to progress, so it was hard not playing when I was trying to be the best player on the pitch."
James Mason grew up in Northumberland so is entrenched in both the football and golf scenes. A low handicap golfer, he also follows Newcastle United and predicts big things under Rafa Benitez.