Chris Sutton has named Chelsea pair Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley as two players to catch his eye at Stamford Bridge.
Loftus-Cheek, along with Barkley, are two Chelsea-owned midfielders that spent last season away from the Bridge on their respective loan deals.
First of all, Loftus-Cheek couldn’t find any consistency in his game for a Fulham team that were relegated from the Premier League. Meanwhile, Barkley’s time at Aston Villa ended very quietly after a promising start.
Surprisingly, both Englishmen remained with Chelsea during the summer window and are now part of Thomas Tuchel’s first-team squad. They have mainly watched on from the stands at the start of the campaign, but are slowly starting to get minutes on the pitch.
Loftus-Cheek, 25, started and assisted in the weekend’s Premier League win at home to Southampton. Also, 27-year-old Barkley came off the bench to provide a pre-assist with a stunning pass in the build-up to a Blues goal.
Sutton has described the duo as Chelsea “B-listers” given they are not key in the squad, but feels they’ve stood out.
“The important thing is Chelsea bounced back against Southampton at the weekend, with some help from their B-listers. Ruben Loftus-Cheek stood out, and so did sub Ross Barkley. Tuchel cannot say he doesn’t have a team capable of finishing first in the Premier League,” Sutton wrote for The Daily Mail.
Loftus-Cheek and Barkley prove Chelsea depth
Tuchel has the strength in depth at Chelsea that should mean his squad competes across the board for trophies.
At the start of the season most would consider N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho to be the central midfield options. In addition, Saul Niguez joined on loan from Atletico Madrid to provide cover.
However, two options have appeared out of nowhere in the past fortnight.
Loftus-Cheek looks somewhere back to near his best in a few recent displays, albeit fans must put a lid on excitement. Pat Nevin said he played his best ever half of football against Southampton.
Barkley put out a statement with his brief cameo from the bench against the Saints, too. He needs to keep working hard to get more opportunities, but he’s obviously on Tuchel’s radar.
Loftus-Cheek and Barkley have important two weeks
The Chelsea ‘B-listers’ are not part of the England squad during this international break, but both have represented the Three Lions in the past.
Loftus-Cheek and Barkley should see this next two weeks, though, as the opportunity to cement themselves in Tuchel’s plans.
Kante’s recent injury obviously opened the door for them, so they need to show in training why they deserve more minutes.
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