As Ruben Loftus-Cheek grazed the Stamford Bridge turf for his first senior and European game, there was a roaring applause for the young youthful 18 year old midfielder. Jose Mourinho had initially confirmed that the youngster was going to have some game time in the match against Sporting and the boss was true to his words. Loftus-Cheek replaced Cesc Fabregas at the 82nd minute and called it a very ‘weird and surreal’ feeling as he embarked on what might prove to be an exciting career and hopefully one relevant to Chelsea.
Chelsea has given debuts to five different academy players this year. Dominic Solanke, Lewis Baker, Andreas Christensen and Swift have all gotten senior debuts for the club this season, a trend Jose Mourinho looks to be continuing which is something a manager usually does when he has long term plans for the club.
Loftus-Cheek after the game said he needs to keep working hard to hard to get such opportunities like that again to represent the club and I think this is vital to all the other youngsters coming through the ranks. Once upon a time under Carlo Ancelotti we introduced the likes of Josh McEachran, Gael Kakuta, Fabio Borini and down the line a couple of others. Some of these players are yet to find their breakthrough moment yet as a whole, Kakuta’s career is very far off what was initially predicted and the same can be even said for Josh McEachran.
After a number of managers at the club from 2010 to 2014, the club looked like a very hard ground for the average youngster to develop. Players were brought in with much experiences and players were sold out to other clubs and like every deal they either workout or not but in regards to the integration and elevation of youth onto that big step in their careers, Chelsea didn’t seem like the place that could happen anytime soon.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been at the academy since he was eight and it just inspires others to work harder and believe they can have opportunities like this and even do more. This also helps put Chelsea in the good books for England, trying to furnish a home grown talent. England’s coach, Roy Hodgson, has seen the passing of the ‘old guard’ from the team and is all about the fearlessness of youth now in the team.
Gary Neville said we paraded Loftus-Cheek like an ‘exotic animal’, and that is totally acceptable. It shoes we cherish these players and their achievement, Neville also added that academy players should be given the taste of first team football and shouldn’t be driven further away from it.
Chelsea fans would be full of hopes over the career of Loftus-Cheek and will also be looking forward to seeing him in future games, and the first step to that is getting Jose Mourinho a bottle of wine, even though he is not of age yet.