12

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Personal information

  • Name

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek
  • Date of birth

    23 January 1996 (age 25)
  • Birthplace

    London, England
  • Height

    1.91m (6 ft 3 in)
  • Weight

    90 kg
  • Position

    Midfielder
  • Number

    12

Biography

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been with Chelsea since the Under-8s age group and is a talented box-to-box midfielder capable of controlling games and playing in attack.

Academy

He captained England schoolboys in the Under-16s’ Victory Shield and played three times for the Chelsea youth team while still an Under-15.

In 2011/12, while still a schoolboy, he was impressing again before picking up an injury to his hip and groin but recovered in time to make a substitute appearance in the FA Youth Cup final. His debut season as a full-time scholar saw him feature on 18 occasions for the Under-18s and net his first goal on the opening day of the campaign against Manchester City. He also made nine appearances for the Under-21s.

His influence in midfield was vital as the Under-18s reached the Youth Cup final once again and he started the final three games of the NextGen Series campaign as the Under-19s lost 2-0 to Aston Villa in the final. His strong form was rewarded as he was selected to travel with the first team squad on a post-season trip in May 2013 to the US for two matches against Manchester City.

The youngster started both games, impressing in the first before being replaced by Nathan Ake late on, and again starting the second game in promising fashion before being forced out of the action with an injury.

In 2013/14 he was part of the Under-21 squad which lifted the Premier League title, as well as captaining our Under-18s to FA Youth Cup glory.

2014/15

Jose Mourinho handed him a first team debut in a Champions League game against Sporting Lisbon in December 2014, and he had his first taste of Premier League action when he came on as a late substitute in our 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the end of January.

In the February, Loftus-Cheek was elevated permanently into the first team squad although the midfielder was still part of the Under-19 side which won the UEFA Youth League courtesy of a 3-2 final victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in April 2015. The following month he made his maiden start for the first team, playing an hour against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

2015/16

In the first part of the 2015/16 season, Loftus-Cheek started a Champions League game against Maccabi Tel Aviv, a League Cup match at Walsall and a Premier League visit from Aston Villa but it was in the FA Cup in the January when he made big steps forwards, scoring his first senior goal at home to Scunthorpe and playing is first 90 minutes in the next round away at MK Dons. He was rewarded the next month with a new contract until 2021.In April 2016 Loftus-Cheek netted his first Premier League goal, the opener in an all-round strong contribution to a 4-0 win over Aston Villa away.

2016/17

Life under Antonio Conte for the young player began with a new position in the team. The Italian identified Loftus-Cheek as having the characteristics needed to play as one of the strikers in a two-man central attack, and handed him two starts there in the League Cup at the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign.After the team successfully switched to a 3-4-3 shape, he was used as one of the supporting attackers to centre-forward Michy Batshuayi in the opening rounds of the FA Cup, and assisted in a goal for the Belgian against Peterborough.Loftus-Cheek made four Premier League appearances in March and April of 2017 as we retained our place at the top of the table before injury ruled him out. By the end of the title-winning season he had made 11 appearances in all competitions.

2018/19

Loftus-Cheek 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.

He 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 a bad Achilles injury sustained in a game held in Boston in the United States denied him a likely starting berth in the final a fortnight later.
 

2019/20

The road to recovery from injury was a long one but he completed it during lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020 and he started our first game after restart, at Aston Villa in the June.

2020/21

Loftus-Cheek started the first game of the season, an away win at Brighton, before going out on loan to recover his match fitness.

On loan

On 12 July 2017 he joined fellow top-flight side Crystal Palace on loan for the season and although the Eagles' early season form was not good, the youngster was one of their best players, often asked to play out wide. He continued to excel at Selhurst Park as Palace surged up the table away from relegation danger, and he only ended up on the losing side twice in his last 17 appearances for the club - those games narrow defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal. He scored twice, versus Stoke and Leicester City, and ended the season by being named in the England World Cup squad.

On transfer deadline day at the start of October 2020 he made the short journey across SW6 for a Premier League loan at Fulham and the chance to play regular top-flight football, as he continued to get back to his best following the serious Achilles injury he suffered in May 2019. As hoped, there was plenty of match action in what was a relegation season with the Cottagers, with 32 games played and one goal scored

International

Loftus-Cheek was rewarded for his form on loan at Crystal Palace by being called into the senior England squad by his former boss at Under-21 international level, Gareth Southgate, and was handed his debut from the start against Germany at Wembley in November 2017. He was named Man of the Match.

Having been selected for England's 2018 World Cup squad, Loftus-Cheek was introduced off the bench in their opening game against Tunisia with the score level at 1-1, and it was an impressive cameo from the youngster, who caused the opposition problems immediately before forcing the corner which led to England's late winner.

He then started the next two games, against Panama and Belgium, performing well in both, before completing all but the last six minutes of the third place play-off against Belgium.