Jose Mourinho has confirmed that he wants to keep Ruben Loftus-Cheek in his first-team for next season, insisting that the midfielder won’t be going on loan like so many of his fellow young teammates.
Loftus-Cheek is highly-rated at Stamford Bridge and caused quite the stir when he was selected to start during the Blues’ 1-1 draw with Liverpool recently.
Here to stay
That outing, coming after two other substitute appearances in the Premier League, has been enough to see the youngster tipped for big things, and Mourinho’s recent comments appear to affirm he’s backing that theory.
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Despite the fact that Chelsea are serial offenders when it comes to farming young players out on loan for experience Mourinho has made it clear, as per the Daily Mirror, that he wants Loftus-Cheek to remain in his fold so that he can continue to develop alongside the likes of Francesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic. Other academy graduates might not be so lucky, but it’s all part of The Special One’s plan.
"He played against Liverpool [starting, and lasting an hour last Sunday]. He’s going to play against West Bromwich. Next season, he starts with us and is stable because he’s part of the squad. He’s not trying to win a position in it. He’s part of it. He’s not going on loan and he knows that," Mourinho confirmed.
“They need that kind of stability, unless they play in very small clubs when, at 17 or 18, they go direct in the first-team. But to be in a big team and reach the level to be playing regularly for the first-team, you need time and stability. We try to give that to our boys.”
With John Terry, now 34, the last player to have come through Chelsea’s academy and establish himself as an important first-team option, the onus is on Mourinho to try and fix an issue that many critics point towards when discussing the Blues’ few flaws.
Criticism of the system
Through their network of incredible scouts and their extremely accomplished facilities Chelsea are able to cherry-pick some of the best young players every year, although few of them go on to reach the first-team due to the vast levels of competition.
As a result a conveyor-belt of loanees is always in operation, one that sees said players given the option to play abroad in a bid to continue their development elsewhere.
That won’t be the fate of Loftus-Cheek ahead of next term however, with the 19-year-old one of the only youngsters at Stamford Bridge never to have experienced football at another club.
Along with the likes of Izzy Brown and Dominic Solanke - both of whom are also touted to be playing a part in the Chelsea first-team next year, Loftus-Cheek will strive to continue impressing Mourinho, although he’ll be well aware that even earning a place on the bench doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed a place for the future.
Chelsea fans, do you agree with the loan system currently in place at Stamford Bridge? Does Loftus-Cheek deserve a spot in Mourinho’s first-team? Are there any other academy players you’d like to see there? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.
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