|Org||England National Team|
|Club as Player||Chelsea FC|
2017 11 09 Retrieve
[Loftus-Cheek aims to become Chelsea’s next midfield dynamo] Ballack is a player that inspired me when I was growing up at Chelsea. I used to watch him playing with the likes of [Frank] Lampard and [Michael] Essien in midfield. I was coming through the Academy and my coaches always used to say to me: ‘Watch the games, watch Ballack.’ At the time they brought in a type of analysis which was quite new. It tracked players individually. You could go on a laptop, click on a name and watch all their plays from the game. I used to click on Ballack’s name a lot. He was a guy that would boss the midfield. It is what my dad used to say to me as well, that I need to boss the midfield too. Ballack was a player that ran the game, while Lampard kind of worked off him. I took his style into the way I play, especially when I played as a No.8 all the way through the academy and sometimes play now.
I have always been quite tall since the age of 13-14, but I wasn’t powerful with big muscles. I have had to develop that Ballack frame and power over a period of time. My physicality is a big part of my game. It was a strength that he used and it is something you can compare us with
2019 05 11 Retrieve
[Loftus-Cheek picks out his best position as he closes on Chelsea return] It’s going well! It’s been a long time and I’ve had a few setbacks as well. It’s never been just a straight path but I’m close now … I’ve been running and moving, I feel I’m right on the edge. I’m close and I can’t wait.
[Loftus-Cheek, who made his Chelsea debut back in 2014, added on being one of the first academy stars to make a senior breakthrough] It feels good to be the one who led the way for the boys coming through. It’s good to know that the boys look up to you as you have done it before them […] and those boys who look up to me will soon have younger boys who will look up to them so it all goes hand-in-hand. The more academy graduates in the team, the better.
I’m most effective as a box-to-box midfielder. Getting up and down, creating and also defending. I’ve played in a number of positions because I’m versatile so it’s easy for managers to move me around. I played left and right midfield at Palace but I managed to do well. That’s cool when you’re coming up but as I’m maturing I kind of want to nail down one position and hopefully that position is box-to-box
I remember when I was at Palace and the World Cup was in the summer, I fractured my ankle and I was only back for six games before the squad was selected. That was a short amount of time but even then it was a target for me, so hopefully now I can get half a season of playing well and stake my claim. Obviously going to the World Cup and playing a little bit there helps – and hopefully playing regularly in the Chelsea team is the start I need to get back with the national team
2019 07 06 Retrieve
[Loftus-Cheek pens new five-year, £120k-a-week contract at Chelsea] I’m really happy and pleased that I get to stay here for another five years. It’s the place where I’ve grown up playing and hopefully I’ll be playing here for a lot longer.
At eight or nine years old, of course you never think you’ll be here for so long because you just want to enjoy yourself and play with your friends. When I look back and see how the hard work has paid off, it’s a good feeling. That only makes me want to work harder to achieve more in the future. I hope to win a lot more trophies with the team and personally it’s just about trying to do as well as I can and work hard to be a key player for Chelsea
2020 04 06 Retrieve
[Ruben Loftus-Cheek says of the lockdown] It’s been difficult just staying inside, it’s just a complete change of routine. But I think it’s just the best thing to do, just avoid going out as much as you can, because I think everyone just wants to get this over and done with, back to normal routine, normal football on the weekends
2020 05 21 Retrieve
[Loftus-Cheek expects Chelsea title challenge as he prepares to end injury nightmare] I was back training before lockdown but only just so I’ve been doing a lot of what the other boys have been doing, general fitness stuff, but I’ve also had some individual responsibilities to keep my Achilles in check, just to stop any further injuries. It’s been calf workouts and stuff like that, just keeping my body strong for whenever we go back
It was frustrating for sure. I’ve put a lot of hard work into getting fit and had just finished what was kind of like my pre-season. I was training with the group and then doing my own stuff afterwards with the fitness coaches, which was really hard trying to get fit to play as quickly as possible. I’d been doing that for weeks and weeks and started to feel like I was very close but then lockdown came. It was frustrating but that’s life - I’ve just had to carry on keeping fit by myself. At the start of the season, I was still injured and at the start of my rehab but I didn’t know it would go on for so long. I thought it would be quicker so I had in my head if I can get back around midway through the season then I can hopefully build up my fitness and be sharp to be in contention for the Euros. Obviously it didn’t happen like that and it took me a long while to feel good in my body after my injury and have the confidence. Having the tournament next summer now is a good opportunity for me to stay injury-free, stay healthy and try to play my best football for when the time comes
The young boys have done really well so credit to them. They’ve shown that they can play at this level and help the team win. The gaffer always said he would play academy players but they have to be doing well to play. That’s really encouraging for the youngsters coming through the academy in the future that they have a gaffer who’s willing to play them if they show they can play at the level. The whole squad have done really well this season, especially having no new players coming in and the team being very young. Considering those things and a new manager with new tactics and a new way of playing, we’ve done really well to be where we are at the moment. We’ve had times on the pitch where we know ourselves that we need to improve but that’s just football and if we can improve on what we’ve talked about as a collective then we could really be a team that’s in contention for titles in the future.
2020 06 20 Retrieve
[Ruben Loftus-Cheek says playing behind closed doors will prove a mental challenge for Premier League players] I’m looking forward to it. Playing in front of an empty stadium will feel really, really weird, because we’re used to loud noises and not even being able to hear the bench shout at you. Now we’re going to hear everything and it’s going to have that kind of hollow feeling, which is a good mental test for us. I’m definitely looking forward to playing football again, no matter the circumstances. I don’t think it’ll be a problem for us, because as soon as you start playing, everything else kind of zones out anyway. You’re so focused on the game when you’re playing that sometimes you don’t even notice the crowd when they are there. I think this will be the same thing once it starts – you won’t even notice because you’ll be so focused on playing football.
You never think this kind of thing will happen, and we went into quarantine earlier than others because Callum had symptoms. We didn’t know it was going to stay like that for so long! Once everyone knew this was not going to be over in a week, the fitness guys at the club came up with a plan for us to follow to keep us ready, and keep us ticking over until we came back. We’ve done some Zoom sessions online with the whole squad, doing some strength work, which was fun. Just to keep the morale there and chat to everyone was good. We ended up doing those group sessions twice a week, and there was a lot of banter flying about, which was good – and we obviously got the work done! It was just good to talk to the boys and see them. We were all logged into a fitness app too, so we could see what everyone else was doing, running-wise, and that was good to keep the competition up and keep pushing each other
2020 06 25 Retrieve
[Loftus-Cheek vows to regain ‘sharpness’ after Chelsea return] Honestly it felt amazing after so long without playing, 13 months since my last competitive game. To get on the pitch, even though there were no fans and it felt slightly different, it was amazing to feel that competitive spirit again. I’m just being grateful to be playing. I started against Aston Villa and I didn’t play as well as I wanted to play, but I just came off the pitch thinking I can’t be angry about that. I’ve just been out for 13 months. I did feel a yard off at times, physically and mentally, the feel of the game, how you would when you’re sharp and playing every week. I couldn’t say I felt like that. It’s hard to explain. You don’t have that smell for the game but it will come back the more I play. I wasn’t too hard on myself, I’m just happy to play and grateful to be back on the pitch. Slowly as I play more that sharpness will get better, and physically I will feel much better as well.
[The Chelsea midfielder added on his desire to win back a spot in the middle of the park as he gets back up to speed] I want to do as much as I can for the team. I played on the wing at the weekend, but I’ve played in midfield most of my career. Wherever I play I hope to bring what I can bring, my power and my strength, and try and get as many goals as possible. That’s what I did last season, getting in the box and trying to get goals, and using physicality in the middle of the park. I can’t wait to feel that power back and get my strength and speed to where it was last season
The mood in the dressing room is really good, really bubbly and excited for it, especially coming off the back of a win. We’re obviously coming up against a really good team, and they can pose a threat, but we can pose a threat as well. We’ve got a really good team. They’re coming to our ground and even though our fans aren’t there, we are used to being at Stamford Bridge. Hopefully, that has an impact. As a team, we are looking to win, as always, and we’re really excited