Jose Mourinho has tipped Ruben Loftus-Cheek for a big Stamford Bridge future after revealing that the only reason he's not a regular fixture in the current Chelsea team is because of the pressures that come with being involved in a tightly-contested Premier League title race.
The 19-year-old midfielder made his senior Blues debut as a substitute against Manchester City in 2014/15, and was named on the bench for Wednesday's 1-0 victory over West Ham United at Upton Park.
Loftus-Cheek was restricted to a watching brief in east London last night, but that didn't stop Mourinho from waxing lyrical about the talented teenager's huge potential, indicating that he would feature much more frequently in England's top-flight next season.
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"I had Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the bench and I have to say that, in my opinion, next year, this kid will be a big surprise in the Premier League," the Portuguese tactician was quoted saying by talkSPORT.
"This season, if I was not playing for the title and we were not playing with the pressure we have, this kid would already be on the pitch."
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Mourinho's comments will come as a huge boost to Loftus-Cheek, who has been forced to bide his time patiently given the wealth of midfield talent currently on the books at Chelsea.
It's not easy for any up-and-coming star to make the step up and establish themselves in the senior fold in west London, as has been proven by the club's tendency to farm out emerging young talent from their academy on loan.
Loftus-Cheek is one of the very few prospects retained by Mourinho this term, but his bit-part role on the fringes of the first-team is enough to send any ambitious young footballer crazy, regardless of the calibre of club they are contracted to.
However, judging by The Special One's latest quotes the England U19 international has done the right thing and successfully made an impression on his mentor, and can look forward to many more minutes on the pitch next term.
Matic taking the mickey
In other news, Jose Mourinho also confirmed that suspended midfielder Nemanja Matic picked up a bizarre ankle injury whilst celebrating Chelsea's Capital One Cup final success at Wembley last Sunday.
The Serbia international would've missed Wednesday's match at Upton Park had he not already been ruled out with the two-game ban he was serving following his red card against Burnley.
Paul Pogba update
And finally, infamous super agent Mino Raiola has offered Chelsea fans fresh hope of seeing Paul Pogba turn out at Stamford Bridge after revealing his client is open to a return to England, but claims he will not necessarily leave Juventus this summer.
The France international has been frequently linked with the Blues - as well as a host of other top European clubs - after establishing himself as one of the finest playmakers on the planet.
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