Ruben Loftus-Cheek is by his own admission enjoying the best period of his career to date, and now he wants to experience the feeling of helping Chelsea win a trophy as one of the team’s key players.
The 23-year-old was a peripheral member of our 2015 and 2017 title-winning squads, but this season he has been integral to our run to the Europa League semi-finals.
He has featured 10 times in the competition so far, scoring a hat-trick against BATE Borisov back in October, and overall he has 38 Chelsea appearances to his name in 2018/19.
It is no surprise, then, that he considers it to be his best season yet.
‘It’s the most I’ve played in my career, the most goals I have got in a season, and that’s due to playing more,’ Loftus-Cheek said in a press conference at Cobham today.
‘It feels good. I have won things with Chelsea but it’s never felt like I was a main player or helped the team as much as I would have liked to win a medal.
‘A lot of my game-time has been in the Europa League this season, scoring goals and helping the team. It would definitely feel different to lift this trophy. I would have the feeling I have helped the team a lot on the way to lifting it, so if we do that would be amazing.
‘I’ve had some difficult times with injuries over the last couple of years,’ added Loftus-Cheek.
‘Even this season I have got injured a lot, but I know how to deal with that now mentally, and to stay as sharp as I can when I have been injured because when I’ve come back I’ve hit the ground running.
‘I’m 23 now. I don’t think I should be seen as a young player. It’s down to me to step up, and play well when I have the opportunity.’
There is no question Loftus-Cheek has done that this season, with his performances now regularly earning him a place in Maurizio Sarri’s starting XI. Managing his lower back injury has been critical and Loftus-Cheek explained he sometimes adapts his involvement in training if extra rest is required.
The England midfielder also stressed how significant this season was for him after a productive loan spell at Crystal Palace and then a World Cup in which he helped England reach the semis. He says Sarri helped persuade him to stay at Chelsea and kick on here rather than going back out on loan.
One area of the game he is continually working on is scoring from midfield. Frank Lampard remains an inspiration.
‘He was obviously the best at that. I studied him a lot in the Academy with my coaches, how he arrived in the box and his timing to get in the box and score goals. It was something I aspire to be like that as a midfielder who has the ability to score goals.
‘I would like to be a player who can score a lot in a Premier League season. That’s something I will look to improve on.’
Turning his attention to tomorrow’s decider with Eintracht Frankfurt, which will determine whether or not we have a shot of silverware in Baku later in May, Loftus-Cheek underlined the players will not be resting on their laurels now a top-four place is confirmed.
‘We’ve achieved Champions League football, but this is the chance to get into the final of the Europa League. As Chelsea we want to win trophies. This is a massive opportunity for us to win a trophy.
‘It would be stupid to go into the game relaxed because they are a top team. We saw that in the last leg. It will definitely be a tough game but we want to win it.’