Ruben Loftus-Cheek will become “very important” for Chelsea but has been told he has to improve by his manager Maurizio Sarri.
The 22-year-old shone in Crystal Palace’s midfield during a loan spell last season and impressed when called upon for England at the World Cup.
However his Blues future has been up in the air in recent weeks after Sarri preferred Ross Barkley for the victories over Huddersfield and Arsenal before loanee Mateo Kovacic was picked for last week’s triumph over Newcastle.
Schalke and Monaco were one of the clubs linked with making a swoop to snap-up Loftus-Cheek on loan in order to give him more much-needed minutes on the pitch, but Chelsea’s Italian coach refused to let him leave.
Sarri is confident the playmaker will get more action once their Europa League and Carabao Cup campaigns begin next month – but he has warned Loftus-Cheek opportunities will not come easy.
And he insists the ace he has to improve in order to win a place in the starting XI.
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Sarri, speaking ahead of Saturday’s Premier League home clash against Bournemouth, said: “I can say that I am really very happy with him because, in the last 10 days, he has improved a lot, so we’re really very happy with him.
“I think that he will be important for sure. Starting in September, we will play every three days, so Loftus-Cheek will be very important and useful for us.
“It’s not easy to play here, because here there are 20, 25 very good players, so it’s not easy to play in the starting XI.
“But I think if he will improve more, he is ready to play from the beginning.”
Sarri was quizzed on why Loftus-Cheek has not figured more regularly, and the ex-Napoli man pulled no punches with his explanation.
He said: “Because he has to improve, just in order to play my football.
“He has great qualities from a physical point of view, and technical point of view.
“I think he needs to improve from the tactical point of view, nothing else.”