Frank Lampard believes Ruben Loftus-Cheek is achieving exactly what he intended at Craven Cottage this season, playing regular football and becoming an integral part of Fulham’s improving team.
The midfielder is spending a season on loan down the road in south-west London, a decision that was made in an effort to sharpen his match fitness following 13 months on the sidelines with an Achilles injury.
He has featured in all but one game for Scott Parker’s side since that move was confirmed in early October and won praise for an eye-catching performance this week against Tottenham, helping Fulham to a 1-1 draw.
That was the first time he had played three consecutive 90 minutes since his 2017/18 loan at Crystal Palace and among the impressed observers was the Chelsea head coach, who also provided an insight on why he sanctioned the temporary switch across the capital and his future plans for the man who turns 25 next week.
‘He played well and I was really pleased to see that,’ said Lampard, reflecting on Loftus-Cheek’s individual performance against Spurs.
‘I felt we missed Ruben last year. When he was getting fit, I was excited because I know the attributes he has and I wanted those attributes at the club.
‘The conversations I had with him earlier on in the season were about him not feeling as sharp or as good as he wanted to be off the back of a really bad injury so it was question of whether he could go and play games because he felt he’d get regular game time elsewhere.
‘Seeing him play recently, he’s looking fit and fresh and strong. We know his obvious talents so it’s great to see. If he can keep that up hopefully through the season, and get back to exactly where he was and more, then I’ll be very happy and he’ll come back as our player for sure.’