John Terry has spoken out after Blues manager Jose Mourinho slated youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek after Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Sydney FC, reports ESPN.
After the criticism, club captain Terry claimed he would speak Loftus-Cheek about the comments: “He's a great boy, he's got unbelievable talent and he just needs to kick on now. I'm sure he will, but as captain I'll have a quiet word for sure."
Mourinho, of course, claimed that the 19-year-old academy player had not been working hard enough off the ball for his side: “The Under-18 competition is too easy for him. He’s too good to play in the Under-18s but I don’t accept that when he’s playing in midfield with Mikel and Matic when we don’t have the ball he doesn’t press, doesn’t have intensity and he’s waiting for everybody else to recover the ball.
"I don’t accept that in the superstars so how can I accept that in a kid? He has to learn what it takes to play for us.”
Despite the criticism from Mourinho, it is clear that he believes Loftus-Cheek has the ability to go all the way to the top in his career, but needs to put the work in to reap the rewards.
So too does Terry, who backed his managers tough-love approach: "If you want to get into this team you need to be very good and, secondly, you need to be mentally strong. The manager picks his times when he digs people out; that's part of his learning curve and he's got the offseason to think about that now.
"He's made a couple of games, come on a couple of times and started a couple of games late in the season, but for him to make that next step and become a regular, it doesn't happen easily. It's going to be hard work for him."
The Lewisham-born midfielder has now played four times for the Chelsea first team without scoring a goal.
Loftus-Cheek joined Chelsea at just eight-years-old and has risen through the ranks at the club. He is hotly tipped to be Chelsea’s first academy success since John Terry came through the set-up 15 years ago.
The London-based half-brother of Leon Court has represented England at under-16, under-17 and under-19 sides since 2011. This year he has been named in the provisional squad for the European Championship after breaking into the Chelsea first team.