Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has revealed that Ruben Loftus-Cheek will remain at Stamford Bridge next season and be given game-time in the first team.
The youngster has impressed at youth level, and he was given the chance to make his debut in the Champions League against Sporting Lisbon earlier this season. He also made his Premier League debut against Manchester City back in January.
Mourinho and Chelsea have been accused of not bringing many young players through and John Terry is the only homegrown player in the team - but the Special One says that Loftus-Cheek will be the exception next season.
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"I can say now, Loftus-Cheek is to stay," said Mourinho. “To stay and I think to stay and to play. I think next year to play, not just to stay. Stay and play.”
In a previous interview Mourinho had also hinted that the talented youngster would get his chance, and said he would have played more for Chelsea this term if they weren't in a title race.
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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," he 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."
Chelsea have plenty to play for this season, and they take on Paris Saint-Germain in the last-16 of the Champions League at Stamford Bridge this evening.
The pair played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Parc des Prince which makes Chelsea slight favourites to go through - almost a year after they beat the same team in the quarter-finals to set up a last four showdown against Atletico Madrid.
In the Premier League they remain five points clear at the top with a game in hand on Manchester City who are in second. They've already claimed victory in the Capital One Cup having overcame Tottenham in the final earlier this month.
It's a cold hard fact that Chelsea do not make the most of their youth academy; so few players come through to make it into the first team.
There's a promising breed of youngsters in the likes of Loftus-Cheek and Nathan Ake, and next season will be the litmus test of Mourinho's intentions. At previous clubs he's failed to bring through youngsters, and don't hold your breath over Loftus-Cheek being a regular next term.
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