Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek will not leave Stamford Bridge on loan in January after seeing a surge in form at the club.
Loftus-Cheek has scored four goals in his last two appearances for the Blues. Sarri addressed the media ahead of Sunday's trip to Crystal Palace, where his playmaker was loaned last season, and said the 22-year-old won't be farmed out this winter:
"In October he played four matches out of five so at the moment the situation is not for a loan of course.
"He improved but he needs to improve more from the tactical point of view. On the rest he is good because physically he has great characteristics. He is fast, solid, he has impact.
"Technically he is very good and I think that if he wants to play like a midfielder he has to improve in the defensive phase at the moment but the potential is great.”
Commentator Steve Wilson noted just how his performances have shot up of late, with the player having only made 22 Premier League appearances for Chelsea prior to this season despite being at the club since 2014:
The England international, who has nine caps, is one of several Chelsea players to have revived their form under Sarri, compared to what they displayed under his predecessor, Antonio Conte.
Fellow Three Lions midfielder Ross Barkley and right-back Davide Zappacosta have also displayed much-improved form under the new regime.
Loftus-Cheek is clearly trusted by England manager Gareth Southgate and was taken by the international boss to the 2018 FIFA World Cup after he impressed while at Selhurst Park last term.
Football Talent Scout recently illustrated how Chelsea could be wise to keep hold of Loftus-Cheek, too, as he sits among a crop of promising English up-and-comers:
Youngsters handed debuts by Gareth Southgate in the last year. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (22) Joe Gomez (21) Trent Alexander-Arnold (20) Ben Chilwell (21) Harry Winks (22) Tammy Abraham (21) Lewis Cook (21) Dominic Solanke (21) Jadon Sancho (18) Future looks bright. 🏴🦁 https://t.co/aGfmuhU6gc
The likes of N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic pose strong competition for places in Chelsea's midfield, but it's also true Loftus-Cheek is only 22 and can look forward to more improvement under Sarri. Kovacic is notably on loan this season, and Chelsea has no option to buy him.
If his start to life under the Italian has been anything to go by, Chelsea can look forward to more investment in their academy graduate and the prospect he'll go on to fulfil the potential long expected of him.