Speaking in a special video interview on the 5th Stand app, Ruben Loftus-Cheek explained why he is confident of starting the new season in the best shape of his career so far.
After being out of action for more than a year due to an Achilles injury suffered in May 2019, he returned for the delayed conclusion to 2019/20 before spending last season recovering his match fitness on loan at Fulham.
Following a successful and injury-free campaign in the Premier League with our west-London neighbours, Loftus-Cheek is now confident those problems are behind him and he can get back to his best in the upcoming campaign.
‘I had last season as a season where I can find my feet and it definitely felt like that at the start,’ he explained. ‘I was struggling mentally and needed to focus on just taking risks in training and get that feel back.
‘But it eventually came and I was doing really well in games, so I’ve had my injury and I’ve had a season now to get fit and feel confident in my body and this season is where I hit the ground running.’
Off the back of last season, which was arguably his best yet in terms of staying fit and clear of injury, as well as a promising pre-season at Chelsea so far this year, the 25-year-old says he is in great shape for 2021/22, and possibly even better than before that year-long absence.
‘I feel really fit now and strong, and hopefully the injuries stay away. Last season was my first full injury-free season which is a massive positive for me, because I always used to get niggles.
‘Even though I was fit I’d be out for a week or a couple of days, miss a couple of matches, but last season was good for my body to be fit every training session and available for every game.’
Loftus-Cheek also revealed how his current fitness and confidence is partly down to his desire to come back stronger, inspiring him to work hard on his own during his time off over the summer to ensure he would come back to Chelsea for pre-season already in great condition.
‘My break was relaxed. I had a little bit longer than usual, so I enjoyed it with my family, just mentally and physically. I started doing a bit of training quite early because I felt like I had a lot of time, so that’s why I feel fit now and relaxed and mentally fresh and ready to go.’