Chelsea FC lifeline for Ruben Loftus-Cheek? Thomas Tuchel compares him to Michael Ballack

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James Robson
·2-min read
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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been given hope over his Chelsea future with Thomas Tuchel comparing the on-loan Fulham midfielder to German legend Michael Ballack.

Chelsea’s manager says a decision is yet to be made over whether the England international will return to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season – but he made it clear he has been a long-time admirer of the 25-year-old.

Loftus-Cheek joined Fulham at the start of the season with a view to kick-starting a career that has been disrupted by injury.

He could yet be forced to move elsewhere to find regular first-team football – but Tuchel has opened the door to a possible return.

“It is not decided yet,” said the German. “I was quite a fan of him when he was even younger, when he came from the academy into professional football here at Chelsea.

“It reminded us a bit of his style of play and movements with Michael Ballack. There were links about him all the time with a move to the German league so we were well aware of him and his talent.

“Sometimes I don’t know why things haven’t worked out as he wished and everyone wished, but he is on loan now and doing well.”

With Ross Barkley also set to return from loan at Aston Villa, Tuchel has decisions to make about his midfield, which will be bloated if he does not offload some of his talent.

But Loftus-Cheek will be given a chance to impress him.

He added: “He is leaving his footprints there and it would be unfair to judge him from TV, hearsay and what people say about him.

“I like to work with players and give my opinion then. Maybe also pretty quick, but also from a direct impression. This is what I don’t have. I don’t know what the idea is, my opinion is or the club’s opinion is. There’s no decision made yet.”

Billy Gilmour is another who could go out on loan next season after failing to establish himself under Tuchel.

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