Loftus-Cheek on ‘a long road’ but Rudiger three weeks away

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Frank Lampard addressed the fitness of two long-term absentees on Friday, but there was no positive news on Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is still set to be out for “a while” due to injury but Antonio Rudiger could be back in full training in three weeks’ time, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has said.

Chelsea have been without England international Loftus-Cheek since he ruptured his Achilles tendon in May.

The midfielder claimed this week he was “close” to a return, but head coach Lampard suggests this is not the case.

Lampard is keen for a patient approach to be taken with Loftus-Cheek, although he understands the player’s desperation to get back playing.

“It’s a long road,” the Blues boss told a news conference. “It’s a difficult one for Ruben, because we want him back, we all know his quality. But it’s going to be a while, it’s going to be a while.

“I feel for him, because people will ask and the thing to say would be, ‘Yeah, I’m really pushing on, it might be next week, it might be next month’.

“But I don’t think that’s quite the case. We need to let him get on with it. We’re all supporting him here. There’s no immediate news.”

A similar situation occurred last week with Rudiger, who has played just once since a serious knee injury in April.

The Germany defender declared himself fit but Lampard intervened, revealing the player would be visiting a consultant due to an ongoing groin issue.

Lampard provided an update on Friday, though, and is now hopeful the problem has been solved.

“[Rudiger] had an operation and he’s going to be out for probably about three weeks hopefully,” Lampard said. “Then we’ll have to see how the match fitness comes in, because it’s a long time Toni’s been out now.

“It was nice to get something definitive about it. We’ve been trying to find a solution, Toni’s been having some issues, and it’s not easy for someone in that position.

“Hopefully we are at that case now and, in three weeks’ time, we’ll be in a better place.”

He added: “You’re going to do well to cover quality players. We’ve not had N’Golo [Kante] for a big part of the season, Ruben Loftus-Cheek we’ve not had, Toni, of course, we’ve not had.

“So that’s one of the nice stories in terms of the rest of the squad, but we’ll gladly take them all back.”

 

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