Jose Mourinho has promised Ruben Loftus-Cheek he will start Chelsea’s next game against Aston Villa.
The 19-year-old has played just 17 Premier League minutes this season as Mourinho has tried different combinations of Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Ramires and John Obi Mikel in midfield.
Matic suffered the ultimate humiliation (though Mourinho claims otherwise) on Saturday against Southampton when he was brought on to replace Ramires at half-time but was then substituted himself after 73 minutes.
“Clearly it is time,” said Jose Mourinho after Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Chelsea. “Not to play four, five or six kids – some are not ready – but Ruben is a case where he’s more ready, and if everything goes normal during the next two weeks, he’s a player to start the next game and a run of matches, to try and get that stability as a first-team choice.
“Not to save the season. The profile of the moment and the profile of the young players makes it a good moment.
“In difficult moments, what’s the best thing? Can the most experienced players cope better? When I don’t play John Terry everyone says: “Why don’t you play the captain? The team needs the captain’s leadership and personality”.
“With Ruben, it is exactly the same. Ruben, Matic, Fabregas or Ramires? Who can cope the best with the pressure? Maybe with the situation so negative for us, the young player feels less pressure than when the team is top of the league.”
Loftus-Cheek has started Chelsea games in the Champions League and Capital One Cup so far this season.