Frank Lampard has said Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be part of Chelsea’s plans when the midfielder returns from his loan at Fulham at the end of the season.
Loftus-Cheek has endured a difficult time since a serious achilles injury in May 2019 and he is yet to produce his best form at Fulham, who host Chelsea on Saturday. The 24-year-old has started eight league games, with his only goal coming in the 3-2 defeat to Everton in November.
There is a firm belief, however, that Loftus-Cheek will improve once he builds sharpness. Lampard, who has plenty of competition in midfield, felt the England international would have a better chance of continuing his rehabilitation by playing regularly on loan. Chelsea’s manager does not want to sell Loftus-Cheek and was encouraged by his display in Fulham’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Wednesday.
“The conversations I had with Ruben earlier in the season were that he wasn’t feeling as sharp as he wanted to be on the back of a really bad injury,” Lampard said. “He felt he needed games and maybe he could get regular games elsewhere.
“Seeing him play recently, I see him looking fit, fresh and strong. We know he’s an obvious talent so it’s great. If he can keep that up hopefully through the season, and if he can get back to where he was and more, then I’ll be very happy and he’ll come back as our player, for sure.”
Loftus-Cheek, who cannot face his parent club, offered glimpses of his old level against Spurs. “I thought he played well and I was really pleased to see that because when Ruben was getting fit and was with us, I felt like we missed him last year,” Lampard said. “And when Ruben was getting fit, I was excited because I know the attributes he has and I wanted those attributes at the club.”