Ruben Loftus-Cheek has accused Chelsea of “definitely” holding him back.
Loftus-Cheek has burst onto the international scene this past week, starting for England against both Germany and Brazil as he attempts to force his way into World Cup reckoning.
His place in the squad was reward for his showings on loan at Crystal Palace, with Chelsea farming him out in an attempt to grant him some first-team experience.
The midfielder has started six Premier League games for Palace, as many as in the previous three seasons under Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho.
“I think in the last two or three years I’ve had to be patient,” he told the Croydon Advertiser.
“It was tough, mentally, at Chelsea not getting the game time, but I had to be really patient and have the mentality to still train right and do all the right things.
“A lack of games held me back, definitely. When I had a chance, and when you don’t play, you really feel the difference of what matches give you; the match sharpness, the fitness, the strength.
“It’s what you need to progress, so it was hard not playing when I was trying to be the best player on the pitch.
“I’ve had no contact,” he added when asked of his relationship with Conte. “I’m focused at Palace for the season.”