Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has again warned Ruben Loftus-Cheek about wasting his talent.
The Chelsea manager was critical of the young midfielder after he was substituted during the club’s post-season tour match against Sydney.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Mourinho used the opportunity of naming his top players to work with to again tell Loftus-Cheek that he must make the most of every chance he gets in the Chelsea first-team.
John Terry, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard - from his time at Chelsea - Marco Materazzi and Javier Zanetti from Inter Milan and Alvaro Arbeloa and Xabi Alonso from his time at Real Madrid were the players identified by Mourinho as ‘team men’.
“People like Materazzi, Zanetti, Lampard, Drogba, Terry, Xabi Alonso, Arebola," Mourinho said.
“Guys who were born to be at that level, born to be team men. Not the ego. Not super-quality as a player in some cases - but team men. The manager's right arm.”
“When you have a big talent, you cannot waste your talent,' he told the Sunday Times. 'I'm lucky to have people like (Branislav) Ivanovic, Terry and Petr Cech and all these guys I took to Thailand and Australia.
“For some reason, these guys could reach the level they did and play the last friendly game of the season, 24 hours flight distance from London, very tired and still compete for a result. (Loftus-Cheek) cannot waste his talent by not wanting to give everything he can.”
It’s a not so subtle message from Mourinho to the gifted 19-year-old Chelsea academy graduate. Loftus-Cheek is the jewel of a Chelsea academy that has dominated youth football in England over the last half decade.
He started his first Premier League match against Liverpool towards the end of the season and has been a fixture in the first-team squad, even if opportunities have been limited.
So Mourinho was not impressed when the youngster didn’t show the same enthusiasm defensively as he did going forward against Sydney.
Brought on as a sub, Loftus-Cheek was then himself replaced by Mourinho.
What do you think Chelsea fans - will the young midfielder play a bigger role at the club next season?