Belfast Telegraph

I could leave Chelsea in search of first-team football – Loftus-Cheek

Loftus-Cheek has made only a handful of Premier league starts for Chelsea since making his debut in 2014.

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is hoping to play regular first-team football next season, whether that be with the Blues or away from Stamford Bridge.

The 22-year-old England international, currently in Russia with the national team for the World Cup, has made only a handful of Premier league starts for Chelsea since making his debut in 2014 and spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace.

While at Selhurst Park, Loftus-Cheek started 21 of his 24 top-flight appearances – before injury took its toll – and earned his first England call-up in November before being named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad for Russia.

Loftus-Cheek, who is likely to start Sunday’s Group G clash with Panama, told several national newspapers: “That’s the key for me next season regarding where I end up: I want to play.

“I want to play as much as I can. And even this past season I didn’t play as much as I would have liked, because of the injuries and stuff, so I still feel I need a proper season of playing, wherever it is.

“I do understand Chelsea are a big club and there is always pressure on managers to win games and trophies. So I understand they might not be willing to take a chance on someone at a bigger club.

“Ever since I was in the Chelsea Academy, I’ve had that awareness that people were saying I would be the first one to break through since John Terry. I believed I could but the opportunities didn’t quite come for me.

“It’s hard to keep training at your best but I made sure I did for when the time came, or when I did get opportunities like at Palace.

“We’ll see what happens. I’m confident in my ability and that I can do well, wherever it is. But I’m not thinking about whether I’m going to play at Chelsea right now. I’m only focused on the tournament.”

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