Since Roman Abramovich’s arrival at Chelsea in 2003, many promising youth players have fallen by the wayside and failed to make a mark at Stamford Bridge.
No academy player has forced their way into Chelsea’s starting XI since John Terry, but with the emergence of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, this trend could be set to change.
In December 2014, Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaced Cesc Fabregas for the last 7 minutes of a UEFA Champions League group stage game against Sporting Lisbon, marking the Englishman’s senior debut for the club.
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Since then, the midfielder has been widely touted as a future star and possibly a potential Chelsea starter. He made his Premier League debut for Chelsea in January 2015, coming on for Oscar in stoppage time in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City.
The following month, Loftus-Cheek was promoted into Jose Mourinho’s squad on a permanent basis. Later in the season, he started in a Premier League game against Liverpool, ending the match with a 100% pass completion rate.
Loftus-Cheek later played against West Bromwich Albion. Despite only playing three league games that season, Loftus-Cheek was still awarded a Premier League winners medal, after the club bought medals for all of their squad players.
During a post-season match against Sydney FC, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho criticised Loftus-Cheek’s performance.
He said: "He has to learn that at 19, you have to run three times more than the others, you have to play to your limits and not play like a superstar with the ball at your feet because this is not Under-18s."
However, Mourinho went on to say: “Loftus-Cheek cannot waste his talent by not wanting to give everything he can. I always think if you don't have talent you can't blame yourself. But when you are a big talent you cannot waste your talent."
Despite reported interest, Mourinho did not allow Loftus-Cheek to leave the club on loan, suggesting the midfielder will be heavily involved in Chelsea’s first team for the 2015/16 season.
He made his first appearance of the season in a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace in August. His first start of the season came in September in a 4-0 win over Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv, putting in a man of the match performance.
The Englishman also made a start in the Capital One Cup win against League One outfit Walsall.
With Chelsea’s recent troubles on-pitch, Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Ruben Loftus-Cheek will get a run in the Chelsea starting XI. Following their frailties, it could be an opportunity for the midfielder to show why he is deserving of a starting spot at Stamford Bridge.
Can he become the first player from the Chelsea Academy, since John Terry, to become a prominent member of the Chelsea XI? Have your say in the comments section below!