Thomas Tuchel told Chelsea star he couldn’t believe he hadn’t played more games

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek is enjoying a new lease of life at Chelsea thanks to Thomas Tuchel

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is enjoying a new lease of life at Chelsea thanks to Thomas Tuchel (Picture: Getty)

Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s re-emergence has represented one of the more surprising aspects of Chelsea’s impressive start to the new season.

The Champions League holders have followed up last season’s unlikely European triumph by winning five of their opening seven top flight matches this term and currently sit top of the table, despite a recent setback against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

Loftus-Cheek, who spent last season on loan at Fulham, could have been forgiven for thinking he would be surplus to requirements following the arrival of Spain international Saul Niguez on deadline day, and the writing looked to be on the wall after he was left out of the first five matches of the season.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has featured in four of Chelsea's last five matches, including last weekend's win over Southampton

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has featured in four of Chelsea’s last five matches, including last weekend’s win over Southampton (Picture: Getty)

The 25-year-old was handed a chance to impress against Zenit back in August, however, and has featured prominently in four of Chelsea’s subsequent five matches.

Despite the increased levels of competition, Loftus-Cheek now looks well placed for an extended run in the team following another eye-catching display in last Saturday’s 3-1 win over Southampton.

Injuries, and particularly the debilitating Achilles rupture he picked up prior to the 2019 Europa League final, have hampered his progress at Chelsea.

Thomas Tuchel told Ruben Loftus-Cheek he was ‘special’ during pre-season (Picture: Getty)

But, according to The Athletic, Tuchel was stunned he hadn’t been used more regularly by a succession of his former managers telling the player ‘You are special. I cannot believe you haven’t played more for Chelsea’ during pre-season.

Tuchel had spoken effusively about the England midfielder in the past, even going as far to compare him to Michael Ballack while discussing his future last season during his loan spell at Craven Cottage.

He said: ‘I was quite a fan of him when he was even younger and he came though the academy and started playing professional football.

‘He reminded me a little bit in his style of play and movement of Michael Ballack.

‘There were some links about him moving to Germany – we were well aware of him. I don’t know why things didn’t work out but he’s doing well on loan now and leaving him footprint.

‘I love to work with players but I need a direct impression and we don’t have that yet. I don’t know what his ideas are or what the club are thinking. We haven’t made a decision yet.’


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