Antonio Conte tips Ruben Loftus-Cheek to become a striker

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Antonio Conte is tempted to convert Ruben Loftus-Cheek into a striker after saying the Chelsea youngster has all the attributes to succeed in that position.

The 20-year-old is the brightest prospect to come out of the Chelsea academy since John Terry and appears to have already won over the Italian coach, who took charge earlier this month.

He was impressive in Chelsea's pre-season victory over Austrian side Wolfsberger, creating several good chances for team-mates before scoring a headed goal in a man of the match display.


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Despite scoring just twice in 17 appearances last season, Conte believes the England youth international has the characteristics of a striker and revealed a potential plan to use him in an advanced position in competitive fixtures.

"Every manager has their own idea about a system of play. In this system, with two midfielders, Ruben can play close to the other forward but become a forward when we have the ball," Conte told the club's official website.

"He has the right characteristics to play in this position. Ruben is young with great potential. I like him a lot in the position of striker. He can improve a lot because he has great potential, good technique, good personality and he is good one v one."

Another striker needed?

Conte's comments may suggest that he has given up on Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata. It is reported that the Blues have had two bids – worth £50m and £62m – rejected by the Bernabeu club and there has been little news on a third.

With Michy Batshuayi joining from Marseille and Loftus-Cheek adding to his options, Conte may drop his interest in the Spanish striker and stick with what he has. Indeed, Conte was quick to sing the praises of his £33m man Batshuayi, who played a role in that 3-0 win.

He said: "He has trained three days and today I wanted to see if after these three days he understood some tactical aspects.

"He can improve a lot, he can become a strong forward, he is very young but with great talent and I am happy with him."

Costa's future

But a move for Morata could also hinge of the future of Diego Costa. The controversial Brazilian has been linked with a move back to Atletico Madrid after failing to settle in west London.

While he has, at times, proved to be world-class, he has also acted unprofessionally when things are not going his way.

If Atletico are prepared to pay over £30m, they could well get the chance to re-sign the man they never really wanted to sell in the first place. And if that happens, a renewed bid for Morata will surely be forthcoming. 

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Premier League
Frank Lampard
Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Didier Drogba
John Terry

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