Ruben Loftus-Cheek has on occasions this season featured as one of the midfield three in Maurizio Sarri’s 4-3-3 system while in other games, he has been one of the wide men in the attacking line.
On Thursday in the Europa League, the 22-year-old was teamed with N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic, and later in the game with Jorginho, in the centre of the park and he played a big part in the 5-0 win. It is a role Ruben has his eye on as he looks forward.
‘We had a chat and I told him [Sarri] that eventually I want to be a midfielder and he respects that. I do see myself as a no.8, to get up and down. Earlier in your career you want to play anywhere, you are pleased just to play. Wherever I play I will do my best and against Kiev I was in midfield so it was perfect for me to get some fitness in my legs.’
He also acknowledges there is plenty of strong competition for those places in midfield but is unfazed by that.
‘That is life at a top football club, there are going to be top players and it improves you much more. You have to hold your own in training and rise to that level mentally. That is my approach to it.’
Read: Loftus-Cheek on building up fitness and staying mentally strong
As well as winning handsomely with his club last week, Loftus-Cheek was also named in the England squad for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers.
‘Gareth Southgate knows me well from the World Cup and before that with England Under-21s and I am grateful I have been called up again, to represent my country is massive for me,’ he says.
‘I spoke to [England assistant] Steve Holland at the time I was injured and he asked me how my back was, how is it coming along. That is normal from the England staff. I have worked with Steve for many years with Chelsea and with England so he knows me well and it is great for me the faith Gareth has shown in me.’