Ruben Loftus-Cheek 'Can Become One of the Best in Europe,' Says Maurizio Sarri

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2019

KIEV, UKRAINE - MARCH 14: Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Chelsea battles for possession with Tomasz Kedziora of Dynamo Kyiv during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Dynamo Kyiv and Chelsea at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on March 14, 2019 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri hailed Ruben Loftus-Cheek's performance in the Blues' 5-0 UEFA Europa League win over Dynamo Kiev on Thursday and believes he has enormous potential. 

The England international kicked off an excellent showing with an assist as Chelsea cruised to an 8-0 aggregate victory in Ukraine to reach the quarter-finals.

Per MailOnline's Luke Augustus, Sarri said of Loftus-Cheek:

"He's improving. In the last month he's been great in training. He's improving every day, and I'm really happy that he was able to play for 90 minutes.

"His potential is very, very high. Physically and tactically he is improving. He can become one of the best in Europe."

The 23-year-old made just his 10th start of the season on Thursday, but he took full advantage of the opportunity.

He nodded Willian's corner down for Olivier Giroud to score in the fifth minute, and he almost scored himself soon after following a mazy run into the box.

Marcos Alonso supplied Giroud for his second after Loftus-Cheek had shown impressive strength to hold off a challenge from Serhiy Sydorchuk (U.S. and UK only, respectively):

Callum Hudson-Odoi put the ball on a plate for Alonso to make it 3-0. Giroud had his hat-trick in the second half when he headed home Willian's free-kick, and he slipped through Hudson-Odoi for Chelsea's fifth.

Football commentator Guy Mowbray singled out Giroud and Loftus-Cheek for praise:

The midfielder showed off his impressive combination of physical and technical attributes, with the former playing a key role in Giroud's first two goals.

It was far from the first time Loftus-Cheek has demonstrated his ability on the ball in the Europa League this season:

Goal's Nizaar Kinsella believes the England man just needs game time to realise his potential:

It falls to Sarri to give him that, as the Italian has handed him just one start in the Premier League this season.

Chelsea will have at least two more Europa League fixtures to contend with, having progressed to the quarter-finals, so there's scope for Loftus-Cheek to earn more starts.

He needs more than European games, though, and he deserves greater opportunities after putting in performances like Thursday's.

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