Thomas Tuchel has hinted that Ruben Loftus-Cheek could have a future at Chelsea after comparing him to Michael Ballack.
Loftus-Cheek was one of the brightest prospects in Chelsea’s academy but has struggled to establish himself at senior level. Now 25, he has only managed 82 first-team appearances since his Blues debut in 2014. Injuries have derailed a promising career.
To help get back on track, the midfielder has spent the current season on loan with Fulham. He has found more continuity there, with 27 appearances in the league this season, but has only scored one goal.
Still under contract at Stamford Bridge until 2024, he has nevertheless been given a glimmer of hope by Tuchel, who was yet to take charge when Chelsea sent him away on loan.
The Blues go up against Fulham on Saturday and although Loftus-Cheek cannot face his parent club, Tuchel addressed questions about his future.
“It is not decided yet,” Tuchel said. “I was quite a fan of him when he was younger. He reminded me of Michael Ballack.
“There were links with him moving to Germany. We are well aware of his talent. I don’t know why things have not worked out as he wished but now he is doing good.
“I cannot judge him from TV and hearsay, I love to work with players then to give my opinion.”
Another player with an uncertain future at Chelsea is Andreas Christensen. The Denmark international spent time in the club’s academy alongside Loftus-Cheek but has been in and out of the senior team.
Christensen, also 25, is out of contract in 2022 and recently admitted he is yet to open talks over a new deal. However, he revealed a desire to stay with the club.
Tuchel has given the defender more gametime and is keen for him to keep proving himself on the pitch.
“I think it is best if he talks on the pitch, if he plays like he plays then he has the right to be here,” he said. “I am happy he is here, he is happy here is here.”
Tuchel tells Werner to keep head up
While Loftus-Cheek and Christensen rose through the academy ranks, one player Chelsea spent big on is Timo Werner.
The striker has struggled for goals since his big-money move from RB Leipzig last summer, but Tuchel gave him some clear advice on how to improve.
“Do we wish for more goals? Yes. Does he wish for more goals? Yes,” Tuchel admitted.
“What I mean is he should keep his head up because he can trust his instincts and that he keeps focusing to score. This is what he does. This is what he needs to do.”