Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has suggested that he will put his faith in youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek for tonight’s Europa League match against Hungarian club FC Vidi. Loftus-Cheek was one of England’s unlikely stars at Russia 2018, causing Chelsea to keep him at Stamford Bridge for the 2018/19 season. He has since made just two appearances for the London club, both coming from the bench.
In just 11 weeks Maurizio Sarri appears to have ushered in a new era at Stamford Bridge. Despite being largely written off following the departure of Antonio Conte, the Blues have quickly adapted to Sarri’s tactical philosophy, building a new identity that has seen them go undefeated in the Premier League since the beginning of the 2018/19 season. With fans now hopeful of a bright future under the chain-smoking Italian, many have begun to turn their attention to some of the bigger questions that have plagued the club in recent years, the most obvious being Chelsea’s apparent inability to promote youth players.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is arguably the most promising young talent currently on the books at Stamford Bridge. The Lewisham local has been a Chelsea player since the age of 8, but has failed to make an impact in the senior squad under successive managers.
Ahead of tonight’s match between Chelsea and FC Vidi, Maurizio Sarri has shared his opinion of Loftus-Cheek’s progress, and hinted that the 22-year-old could be ready for his first start of the season.
“The pressure is normal for a player of high level so he has to get used to the pressure,” said Sarri. “It’s normal for a high-level player to have pressure from the club, the newspapers, TV, the manager.”
“Maybe tomorrow it is time to see Loftus I think,” he added.
“He was unlucky in the last three weeks after the match with the national team, he had a problem but in the last five, six days he’s been better so I think he’s able to play tomorrow.”
Loftus-Cheek could be one of a number of fresh faces to feature in tonight’s fixture, with Sarri promising to make “six, seven or eight” changes to the squad that faced Liverpool.
“I am here to win, I want to win something,” he said. “I hope to be able to do it.”