Jamie Redknapp has challenged Ruben Loftus-Cheek to show Chelsea they were wrong to loan him out to Crystal Palace.
Jamie Redknapp has challenged Ruben Loftus-Cheek to show Chelsea were wrong to loan him out to Crystal Palace.
Loftus-Cheek, a product of the Chelsea academy, has played 22 games for the Blues after making his debut for the club in 2014 appearing as a sub against Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League.
Since arriving at Selhurst Park on loan from Chelsea the 21-year-old has struggled with injury, playing eight times, but his starring performance on his England debut against Germany on Friday night earned him the man of the match award.
And Redknapp, who has 17 caps for England, was full of praise for the midfielder’s “exceptional” performance but thinks he can do even more to develop his game.
“He (Loftus-Cheek) has to show us now he is the real deal and show everyone at Chelsea, ‘Why are you letting me go on loan? I should be in your first team’,” the Sky Sports football pundit told Sky Sports News HQ.
“He’s got all the attributes, the physicality, the touch and the finesse and when he runs with the ball he’s got all the power, but I think he can do more.
“I think he can boss games from start to finish, he is so strong, he’s 6ft 3in, but he could do it more often.
“He’s had a few injuries early in the season, but what he’s shown is that if he plays with better players he is a better player. I thought he was exceptional on Friday night and I hope he plays against Brazil.”
But the former Tottenham midfielder understands opportunities are limited at Stamford Bridge and thinks Loftus-Cheek’s best option was to go out on loan.
After selling Nemanja Matic to Manchester United, Chelsea bought Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco and Danny Drinkwater from Leicester to fill the midfield vacancy.
“It’s difficult because he probably wouldn’t get a chance with Chelsea,” added Redknapp. “They’ve signed Bakayoko, so the only chance he has really is if he goes on loan somewhere. I think the loan system is very good.”
Jamie Redknapp was speaking at Leatherhead after opening a new all-weather pitch funded by the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, delivered by the Football Foundation to help develop grass roots football in the UK.