Ruben Loftus-Cheek has joined Fulham on loan for the 2020/21 campaign.
The temporary switch will allow the midfielder the chance to play regular top-flight football as he continues to get back to his best following the serious Achilles injury he suffered in May 2019.
He completed his recovery during lockdown and since then has made 10 appearances for Frank Lampard’s Blues, seven of them off the bench. He started our first game after restart, at Aston Villa, and our opening fixture of this season, another away win at Brighton. The 24-year-old now heads to Craven Cottage where he will work under former Blues midfielder Scott Parker.
A product of our Academy, Loftus-Cheek made his Chelsea debut in December 2014 and scored his first senior goal in an FA Cup win over Scunthorpe the following season.
He picked up a league winner’s medal in 2016/17 having made 11 appearances in all competitions, before continuing his development on loan at Crystal Palace.
Such were the quality and consistency of his performances at Selhurst Park he was rewarded with a first senior England cap in November 2017, and he ended the season at the World Cup in Russia, making four appearances as Gareth Southgate’s side reached the semi-finals.
He returned to Chelsea and played regularly under Maurizio Sarri’s stewardship, particularly towards the end of the season when he achieved his best form to date in a Blues shirt.
Loftus-Cheek scored 10 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions, including a maiden Chelsea hat-trick against BATE Borisov in the Europa League. Other personal highlights included a very late winner at Cardiff, fine strikes at home to Watford and Fulham, and also the opener in the second leg of our successful Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt. Only that injury sustained in Boston denied him a likely starting berth in the final a fortnight later.
‘He’s had a difficult time and the injury was a bad one,’ noted Lampard recently.
‘He hasn’t played as many minutes for this club as he would have liked to have done for different reasons, but just before his injury he was playing really well and contributing.
‘He’s fit as a fiddle so he can play week in, week out and he needs to play coming off the back of a lot of work now. He would have been playing games earlier if it wasn’t for lockdown.
‘We hold him in very high regard here, I certainly do and going on loan could be a good option for him.’