Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s latest showing in a Fulham shirt was hailed as “exceptional” by manager Scott Parker.
The on-loan Chelsea midfielder has been at the forefront of the Cottagers’ rejuvenated efforts to beat the drop, as he has started 16 Premier League games so far.
Parker’s side have picked up seven points from three games and now the west London outfit are just three points behind 17th-placed Newcastle, albeit they have played a game extra.
The Blues academy product was loaned out to Fulham for the season in early-October and while he may find it difficult to break into Thomas Tuchel’s side when he returns to Stamford Bridge, his performances this term will not have harmed his reputation.
When Parker was asked about the 25-year-old’s performance, and how teammate Harrison Reed got on, in the 1-0 win over Sheffield United on Saturday night, he replied: “They were both exceptional really and I thought everyone today involved was excellent.
“But the two players you highlight were immense really. Ruben, we all understand his quality, certainly I do.
“Obviously Harrison has been pivotal in what we did last year and this season.
“Two players that are young, two players in Harrison and even Ruben to a certain extent who have not had a lot of football at this level but they’re taking it very well.”
Other than one season for Chelsea back in 2018/19, where the England international played 40 times in all competitions, he has failed to tie down a regular starting spot at the Blues.
He was loaned out to Crystal Palace for the 2017/18 season and has only played 82 times for Chelsea since making his debut in December 2014 as an 18-year-old.
However, Loftus-Cheek, who signed a five-year deal with Chelsea until 2024 in July 2019, he has not been helped by suffering an Achilles injury in May 2019 and he didn’t return until June 2020.
That long road to recovery was also disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Coming back from injury and dealing with that, as well as the pandemic [was difficult],” he told Sky Sports.
“I missed a lot of football because it was obviously postponed when everyone went into lockdown – so it was about 13 or 14 months in total.
“It was a difficult period for me personally and everyone around the world as well, but hopefully we can get back to normal soon.”
He will have to compete with the likes of Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Kai Havertz, and Billy Gilmour, among others.
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But his recent displays for Fulham may convince Tuchel that he needn’t spend millions in the transfer market when he has a solid performer in Loftus-Cheek.
Asked if he feels like he’s getting back to his best earlier this month, he told Sky Sports News: “Yeah. I’m feeling more myself in games. I think all that’s missing is the goals and that will come.
“I’m really enjoying my football, enjoying fighting with the boys and hopefully we can stay up.”