Ruben Loftus-Cheek has discussed the ‘hurt’ which has been caused following his injury at the back-end of last season.
The midfielder ruptured his Achilles following a post-season friendly against New England Revolution, a corporate event which has come under much criticism since.
The England international was forced to miss the Europa League final weeks later. The climax of a competition he had starred in.
Europa League upset
Loftus-Cheek looked to finally nail down a starting place at the club he has been with since the age of eight.
“I’d played most of my games in the Europa League from the start so for me not to play in the final, it was a big thing which hurt," he said.
After a number of complications through the 24-year-old’s recovery, he has been restricted to just a handful of behind-closed-doors games since the injury, circumstances which would frustrate any athlete.
“The hardest part for me is watching the games, seeing them play and win – or even lose – it is hard. I can’t wait to get back.”
Despite the setback, Loftus-Cheek is aware of the few positives that can be taken from the whole situation.
“The mental side of being injured is hard, but going through the tough times it hardens you and it made me a better player. I have the mind-set of not regretting those things.”
Excited to start under Lampard
Loftus-Cheek is yet to feature under Frank Lampard, however is one of many who can see the positives of the legend’s appointment.
“The manager coming in, he has always said give young players a chance if they are good enough.
"It is not like he is throwing academy players in left, right and centre. It is because they are really good players, they are helping the team win.
"Honestly I am so excited, I can’t wait to play with them and share the pitch with them.”
This proved true back when Lampard was a player, as he was a catalyst in the then 16-year-old Loftus Cheek experiencing a training session with the first team, finding himself up against none other than Didier Drogba.
“Everyone paired up and then Drogba was left. Me and Drogba. It is like when they’ve got a glow around them when you’re that young and looking up to these players.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic postponed all football in this country for the foreseeable future, Loftus-Cheek was on the brink of return after a number of substitute appearances.
Now, despite the added frustration of a further delay to his comeback date, the extra rest may ensure the England international returns much closer to his best, as he looks to make his mark on the new-look Chelsea.