Questions must be raised when a player of Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s quality has 33 Premier League minutes to his name this season.
The 22-year-old has struggled for game time under Maurizio Sarri; even Ross Barkley has had more action through the first four matches of the campaign.
Crystal Palace were keen to re-sign Loftus-Cheek on loan but the move never materialised.
And that’s a shame considering he needs to be playing as much as possible.
The midfielder, who played for England at the World Cup, revealed in the week that Sarri has told him he must improve his understanding of the Italian’s tactics.
“A lot of my focus and effort is learning his tactics and his ways in training. The quicker I get that, the more opportunities I will get to play,” Loftus-Cheek said.
His comments have disappointed Stoke City striker Peter Crouch, who is desperate to see Loftus-Cheek in action.
Crouch expressed his frustration at Loftus-Cheek’s situation in his weekly column for the Daily Mail.
“Not many young players made an impression on me like Ruben Loftus-Cheek last season,” Crouch said.
“I played against him twice and the second time, in particular, stands out. He was like a machine, a big, strong powerful lad who could burst away from you in a flash.
“I want to see him do well and become a big player in the Premier League, as well as for England so it was disappointing to read comments this week in which he said Maurizio Sarri has told him he needs to understand the game before he can get into Chelsea’s team.
“This is the problem all young players are facing now and I’m not sure it’s a problem that is going to be solved any time soon.
"It is increasingly frustrating to see the likes of Loftus-Cheek and Ethan Ampadu, his team-mate at Chelsea who sparkled for Wales last week, kicking their heels on the sidelines when they clearly have ability.
“All our top players in the past were playing in the Premier League in their late teens - think Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard - but it now looks more and more that the only way this young generation will prosper is by going on loan.
“I wish it could be different.”
It's a pretty tough situation to be in.
Sarri is in the results business; he is evaluated on how many trophies he wins, not how he develops Chelsea's youngsters.
For Loftus-Cheek's sake, he can only strive to give Sarri a selection headache by learning his tactics.
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