Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has confirmed that starlet Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be a part of his first-team next season, and could be joined by three or four others.
That’s according to quotes relayed by the Daily Express wherein The Special One emphasised the importance of having a small faction of young players in his team, with their development sure to be aided by the more senior figures around them.
It’s not the first time Mourinho has offered an indication that Loftus-Cheek is a part of his plans for the future, but his latest statement can be taken as a confirmation that the 19-year-old will feature for the first-team in some capacity within this calendar year.
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"He will be a first-team player, absolutely ready to play and compete. And we will do the same with two or three or four players," Mourinho explained.
"Some of the older ones will go on loan to play every game in the Championship or the Premier League, even abroad. And we will bring some of the younger ones into the process. But to have them all at the same time in the first-team squad is hard.
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"I cannot have a squad of 10 men and 10 kids. I must have a squad like we have now of 16 or 17 seniors and three or four kids."
Not only does it solidify his future with the club but it also represents something for the fans to look forward to. Excitement is generated in waves every time Roman Abramovich opens up his cheque-book, but nothing quite beats the idea of celebrating a player who has come through the academy. Unfortunately for Chelsea in recent times such characters have been in very short supply.
In fact one has to cast themselves back to John Terry to find the last graduate from the Blues’ academy who is currently playing in the first-team, and though Chelsea’s youth system has seen a host of supposed ‘wonderkids’ pass through its doors it has produced far fewer footballing gems in recent years than chiefs at the club would probably have liked.
Yet it seems in Loftus-Cheek Mourinho has his next flagship youngster, one who can perhaps succeed where the likes of Ryan Bertrand and Romelu Lukaku failed and push his face into the picture before Chelsea buy in others to block his path to the starting XI.
Having made his debut for Mourinho during the Champions League clash with Sporting Lisbon earlier on this season the midfielder has had a taste of the action to come, and the fact that he’s been training with the first-team for most of the year is testament to how much groundwork Mourinho is laying to ensure he is comfortable with the step up in competition.
One thing Loftus-Cheek will hope to avoid is being shipped out on loan like so many have been before him. Currently the Blues have over 20 players registered to their books plying their trade elsewhere, many of whom won’t be given a sniff in Mourinho’s side before departing permanently.
Chelsea fans, are you excited to see Loftus-Cheek in action next season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.
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