Ruben Loftus-Cheek believes his development may have stalled after a lack of chances to shine in Chelsea’s first team.
The midfielder was one of the major pluses from England’s successive stalemates against Germany and Brazil, with the on-loan Crystal Palace star putting in a man-of-the-match performance against the world champions on Friday night.
Discussing the recent plaudits that have come his way, Loftus-Cheek reckons his time at Stamford Bridge may have held him back.
“I think in the last two or three years I’ve had to be patient,” Loftus-Cheek told the Croydon Advertiser.
“It was tough, mentally, at Chelsea not getting the game time, but I had to be really patient and have the mentality to still train right and do all the right things.
“A lack of games held me back, definitely. When I had a chance, and when you don’t play, you really feel the difference of what matches give you; the match sharpness, the fitness, the strength.
“It’s what you need to progress, so it was hard not playing when I was trying to be the best player on the pitch.”
Loftus-Cheek on Conte
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has complained this season about having a small squad; that’s inspite of the likes of Loftus-Cheek being allowed to leave on loan.
Discussing his relationship with the Italian manager, the 21-year-old continued: “I’ve had no contact (with Conte). I’m focused at Palace for the season.
“I have a good relationship with Eddie Newton, he is helping me behind the scenes.
“There’s no bitterness I have got the chance at Chelsea. They are a massive club and I understand opportunities don’t come to everyone or often.
“For me, I never would want to rewind the time because I learned a lot about myself mentally, and I think I have got mentally stronger.
“That period of two years was my journey but now I’ve got the chance to play.”
Like our dedicated Chelsea Facebook page.
Palace will have been concerned by Loftus-Cheek’s withdrawal after 34 minutes against Brazil on Tuesday night, and the player will report back to the Eagles on Wednesday morning for an assessment.