'Still a talent': BBC pundit says everyone needs to start taking Chelsea's 26-year-old player very seriously now

Garth Crooks claims everyone needs to start taking Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek seriously after his impressive performance at the weekend.

Loftus-Cheek, 26, played an important role on Sunday in the Blues booking their spot in the FA Cup final against Liverpool.

The central midfielder, who entered the action as a first-half substitute, scored the opener in a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace in the semis.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has been relying on the Englishman in the last few games, including in the Champions League when he trusted him out of position at wing-back.

BBC pundit Crooks suggests Loftus-Cheek is slowly beginning to rediscover some of the form that he made him such an exciting prospect earlier in his career. He insists Chelsea’s academy graduate is still a real “talent”.

“What an irony. It’s not that long ago Loftus-Cheek was on loan to Crystal Palace, trying to get his career back on track. I thought he did well while at Palace and might have stayed. However, his return to Stamford Bridge appears to now be proving profitable,” Crooks wrote.

“I didn’t expect him to start in the FA Cup semi-final but when he got on the pitch he looked the part and took his goal brilliantly. Injuries have not helped Loftus-Cheek make the progression he might have made, but his performance against Palace suggests he is still a talent to be taken very seriously.”

In addition, Tuchel was complimentary of him after his performance at Wembley Stadium against Palace.

Photo by Justin Setterfield – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Chelsea eyes on 14 May

Every member of the Chelsea squad will be hoping from now until mid-May they can force their way into the best XI.

It’s a dream for most players to start in an FA Cup final at Wembley, so the upcoming Premier League games are going to be really intriguing.

The Blues will now focus on trying to consolidate third in the table, something they should do if they don’t take their foot off the gas. There’s a nice cushion above teams below, plus they have games in hand.

Loftus-Cheek, along with most of the squad, won’t be guaranteed a starting position at Wembley next month.

It feel like there’s only a handful of individuals you’d nail down as dead certain to start, so let the competition begin.

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A sports journalist who graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016 and is a Chelsea supporter. Loves anything football or cricket related when it comes to England.