Fulham boss Scott Parker has praised on-loan Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek who will have to sit out Saturday’s clash at Craven Cottage.
Since on-loan players are not allowed to play against parent clubs, Fulham will be without Loftus-Cheek for the Chelsea game.
The 24-year-old left Chelsea for Fulham on a season-long loan deal to pursue a regular football and regain his best form after a long-term injury last season.
However, he has made just eight league starts (14 appearances in all competitions), scoring only one goal so far this season.
The versatile midfielder also played several roles already under Parker from centre-midfielder to centre forward.
The expected end product is still missing, but Parker said Loftus-Cheek has begun showing his full potential recently.
“I thought he was exceptional [against in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur],” Parker said in his press conference on Thursday (via Fulham’s official YouTube channel)
“He was the top player we all understand, certainly I do, when I brought him into the club.
“The quality he has, not played a lot of football for sometime, but last night and over the last few weeks, seeing a player not with just a massive potential.
“You see every bit of a top player, a Chelsea player, we’re pleased to have amongst us, really, and hopefully he keeps performing and getting better.”
If Loftus-Cheek wanted an opportunity to return and fight for a spot at Chelsea, he would have to show much better performances at Fulham.
He has not been giving Lampard any reason why he deserves a spot ahead of Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, or Mateo Kovacic.
Not to mention Ross Barkley who also had a brilliant start at Aston Villa.
There are arguably two attributes that make Loftus-Cheek special: versatility and prolificness.
Chelsea, however, already have several versatile midfielders like Havertz and Mount.
Therefore, Loftus-Cheek must work on the latter and increase his output.
In his best season in 2018/19, he raked 10 goals and five assists in all competitions before the injury — and hopefully, he can find that rhythm again after a year-long absence.