Ruben Loftus-Cheek: Ten facts about the talented Chelsea midfielder, including whose style of play he copied and which Spurs star he is friends with
Ruben Loftus-Cheek seems to have been at Chelsea forever. Well, he has. Joining the Blues aged eight, the midfielder is highly regarded by the club and has impressed when given the chance.
Despite his obvious talent, the England international has only played 37 times in the Premier League in the last four seasons for Chelsea and was sent out on loan to Crystal Palace for the 2017/18 campaign.
But what else do we know about a player who is considered one of the best young talents in the country?
Ahead of the match, which will be live for fans to tune into on talkSPORT 2 and kicks off at 5.55pm, here are 10 more facts.
10. Football runs in the family
Loftus-Cheek is the half brother of former Newcastle United and Wolves striker Carl Cort, who played in the Premier League in the early 2000’s and ex-defender Leon Cort, who turned out for Crystal Palace and Stoke City.
9. Dream debut
Having already impressed for England throughout the youth levels, including being named Player of the Tournament at the Toulon Tournament in 2016, Loftus-Cheek earned his first start for the senior team against Germany at Wembley in November the following year.
While the match ended goalless, the on-loan Palace midfielder turned in a powerful and purposeful display to earn himself the man of the match award.
8. London’s calling
Playing Sunday football can be the perfect platform to get yourself noticed by scouts and there was certainly no shortage of them when Loftus-Cheek was about. Chelsea, Millwall, Arsenal, West Ham and Charlton all monitored his progress and he trained with each side – apart from the Gunners – before committing his future to Chelsea.
7. Manager madness
Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Antonio Conte, Frank de Boer, Roy Hodgson, Gareth Southgate and Maurizio Sarri are all of the managers to have coached Loftus-Cheek at some point in his career. Not a bad bunch to learn from!
6. Midfield idol
Like most aspiring midfield players, there can be no better player to learn from than France legend Zinedine Zidane. Speaking to FourFourTwo, he said: “I know he’s (Zidane) not the strongest or fastest, but on the ball; he was just so good, so relaxed, so calm. People say I’m calm on the ball today, because I tried to be like him when I was younger.”
5. Shoots and scores
To score for your boyhood club is a dream for any footballer, to do it with your very first shot on target is even better and that’s exactly what happened for the 23-year-old when he found the net against Scunthorpe United in an FA Cup tie back in 2016.
4. Copying a great
While Frank Lampard and Michael Essien were players Loftus-Cheek admired, there was another Chelsea midfielder who he kept a closer eye on; Michael Ballack. The German spent four years with Chelsea from 2006 and helped the Blues win the double in his final season.
“Ballack was a player that ran the game, while Lampard kind of worked off him,” he said.
“I took his style into the way I play, especially when I played as a no.8 all the way through the Academy and sometimes play now.”
3. Crossed the boss
Loftus-Cheek was handed his senior Chelsea debut by Jose Mourinho during the 2014/15 season, but he was on the end of some harsh words from the manager after a pre-season game at the end of that campaign. “Ruben was saying he had a pain in his back but what I was feeling was that he only had this pain when Sydney had the ball,” said Mourinho following a match in Australia.
“So, with Ruben, it’s one step back in terms of my relationship with him. If he doesn’t know what it means to play for me and Chelsea, it’s one step back.”
2. Football friend
Chelsea and Tottenham may be football rivals, but that has not stopped members of both sides being mates with each other. Loftus-Cheek reportedly gets on well with Dele Alli. “I’ve been good friends with Dele for a long time,” he said. “We have been in the England set-up together since I was young. We played together a few times, he’s a really nice guy.”
1. Staying fit
Loftus-Cheek has been plagued with a chronic back problem since he was 17 and the injury curse struck again this January. At 6ft 4, the midfielder is a pretty big player and has revealed he barely touches weights, instead focusing on yoga and work with the physios instead.
“I’ve been doing yoga. I’m not very good at it, but I have to start somewhere! Working with the physios, they know the best things.
We have been working over the past year since I have been in the first team. As I’d get a niggle, you’d rule out a problem. It was just about ruling out all the problems to figure it out.”
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