It was yet another impressive midfield cameo from Ruben Loftus-Cheek in our 1-0 victory over Brentford on Saturday, and the midfielder has said that he relished playing in a deeper role.
The Chelsea Academy graduate played alongside the ever-impressive pair of N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic in the Blues midfield and spoke of the enjoyment he is having this season after forcing his way into the side in these early months of the term.
The 25-year-old has been on loan at Premier League clubs Crystal Palace and Fulham in the past few campaigns and after a successful pre-season back at Cobham, he has forced his way into head coach Thomas Tuchel’s plans for the campaign.
After our hard-earned win at the Brentford Community Stadium, Ruben spoke of his delight of being in the starting XI and how he had to adapt to playing a deeper midfield role than he usually would deploy.
‘I am enjoying all my time on the pitch,' Ruben explained, with a huge smile. 'It is not somewhere I have played a lot in my career. I started deeper, but under different managers I have just moved up the pitch.
'I've played as a number eight, a number 10, winger, even as a striker and now back to deeper midfield. It’s where I have played a lot in my career in the younger days, the number six or eight [position]. So it is not something too foreign to me.‘Anywhere I play, especially in the midfield, is just fantastic. I love being back at this club. I had full intentions of staying after my Fulham loan so I am really happy to play and help the team.
With different areas across the midfield desiring different skills and attributes, the England international has had to adapt his game when called upon. Despite playing a more attacking role in recent years, Ruben insists he has no problems plying his trade deeper.
‘At times, when opponents press it’s intense and difficult,' added the midfielder. 'I have to use my body and be aware of what is behind me, I think I am quite good at that. Sometimes when teams press like that and everyone is forward, I can then beat the press myself. It is just a big advantage for the team if I can do that and we have got an overload to go forward.
‘It’s a position where you have to be safe a lot of the time, dictate the play, it’s hard sometimes as I want to run with it a lot more, but I had to be disciplined in this role. I could run forward only three or four times, but I picked the times. I enjoy it either way.
When pressed on what Tuchel had asked of him pre-match in our 1-0 victory over Brentford, Ruben was quick to point out the German’s desire to let him have freedom on the pitch and to try and dominate through the lines.
‘He said if I play this position, then be strong,' said Ruben. 'Use my body, dominate physically, and just play how I play.
‘I think if you overthink stuff, things can go bad. I have played football my whole life so it is just about playing and not overthinking. Play football the way you normally do and have fun is the main thing.‘I think we forget sometimes with all the pressure and having to win, we have to enjoy it as well.’