Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has admitted that midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek still has a long way to go in his recovery from an Achilles injury.
The 24-year-old has not been seen since suffering the injury towards the end of last season, but it is thought that he is closing in on a return after returning to first-team training on Friday.
However, Lampard insisted (via the club’s official website) that, given the severity of the injury in the first place, Loftus-Cheek still has plenty of work to do to ensure he gets back to full fitness, and he will not be considered for selection until the club is confident he has recovered.
“He had his first session with us fully on Friday, which was a light session and that suited him,” the boss revealed. “He’s got a fair way to go still, and I’m not being pessimistic there. He probably needs a full week’s training with us, a tough week, and then he’ll need some Under-23 games.
“The break comes at a nice time for him, because it’s a nice time for him to work, and we’ll gauge it at the other end of that break and see where we are.
“I don’t care who you are, you’ll miss Ruben and his abilities, his natural physique, ability to travel with the ball, move it well, the goals he started to score last year – which have to be a big part of his game.
“Of course we’ll miss a player of that level and it put a smile on everyone’s face to see him back because he’s popular with his team-mates as well.”
Lampard also added that winger Christian Pulisic is expected to return to training ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Leicester City, although it is unlikely that the American will be fit enough to feature.
After that, Chelsea will have a 16-day break before returning to action to face Manchester United on 17 February, meaning both Loftus-Cheek and Pulisic will have time to focus on recovery.
Fans are eager to welcome Loftus-Cheek back as soon as possible. He was proving to be one of Chelsea’s star players at the time of his injury and is seen as a potential answer to the Blues’ lack of creativity in midfield.
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