Loftus-Cheek unhappy with lack of opportunities at Chelsea

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has criticised Chelsea over the lack of first-team opportunities afforded to young players who have come through the club’s academy.

Loftus-Cheek, who is part of the England squad participating in the 2018 World Cup, was promoted to the Blues’ first-team squad in 2014, but has managed only 32 appearances since then.

The 22-year-old midfielder has also hardly featured for the west Londoners since the appointment of Antonio Conte as manager, leading to a loan spell with Crystal Palace for the 2017/18 season.

The loan spell at Selhurst Park proved fruitful for Loftus-Cheek as he was able to impress Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate to be included in his final 23-man party for the tournament in Russia.

Loftus-Cheek admits to being unsure of his future at Stamford Bridge ahead of the new campaign, telling reporters: “It’s been so difficult to go from playing every game then get to the seniors and not be given a chance.

“It’s really difficult mentally, there’s only so long you just enjoy training with top players. From a year ago, I’ve improved so much from playing. A game situation is completely different.

“It’s hard to compare the faith of Gareth Southgate and Roy Hodgson and my lack of chances at Chelsea because it’s such a big club – managers are under pressure and maybe don’t want to take a chance on a young player.

“I don’t understand what’s going on behind the scenes fully, but Chelsea’s a massive club and I understand why chances don’t come so often.”