Paul Merson has suggested that Chelsea manager Frank Lampard will drop Ruben Loftus-Cheek from his starting XI and isn’t too sure when his next opportunity will be.
The 24-year-old started the season opener in the Premier League against Brighton, which the Blues won 3-1 away from home to start the new campaign with three points.
Loftus-Cheek was substituted off after an hour and he struggled to get anywhere near his best, with a misplaced pass failing to set up teammate Timo Werner in behind the defence summing up his match.
The central midfielder was slowly integrated back into the side during the second half of last season, as he made his way from a serious long-term injury.
Since the Brighton victory Chelsea have been preparing for their next league fixture, which is a home clash on Sunday at Stamford Bridge against reigning champions Liverpool.
Sky Sports pundit Merson believes that Loftus-Cheek blew his chance against Brighton and can see him slipping down the pecking order for the foreseeable future.
“I didn’t think they (Chelsea) were that great against Brighton. I’m gutted for Ruben Loftus-Cheek. He doesn’t look recovered from his injury and may not get another chance any time soon,” Merson wrote in the Daily Star.
Loftus-Cheek knew going into the season competition for places was going to be tough, so a disappointing performance against Brighton certainly hasn’t done him any favours.
The English powerhouse slotted into an advanced midfield role in the number 10 pocket and struggled to create, but teammates Mason Mount, Ross Barkley and Kai Havertz are all capable of slotting into that role.
Despite many writing off Loftus-Cheek already, Lampard clearly has big faith in the academy graduate and it must be remembered he was one of the team’s standout players back in the 2018/19 campaign before his injury setback.