Parker: Central role best for Loftus-Cheek

Scott Parker has no doubt where Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be most effective for Fulham – straight down the middle.

Loftus-Cheek, signed on loan from neighbours Chelsea, has previously played in a slightly wide position in a 4-3-3 formation.

But Parker has no intention of deploying him anywhere else but in the centre.

The consequence for the likes of Bobby Decordova-Reid and Tom Cairney mean both will be looking over their shoulders, with one if not both set to warm the bench in the near future.

Loftus-Cheek hopes he can rekindle the form which saw him included in England’s 2018 World Cup squad, starting with a debut at Sheffield United on Sunday.

An Achilles injury struck just as he was finally enjoying a run in the Chelsea side.

Fulham head coach Parker believes he can now offer Loftus-Cheek a path back to the top – as long as he plays to his strengths.

“I don’t see him as a wide player, Parker explained.

“I see him as a technical player with physical attributes, which is a dream for us, and someone who can affect this team by playing in the centre.

“He’s settled in really well, and he’s from around the corner. So as far them dynamics go, it’s all good. He can live in the same house and that sort of thing.

“He has been here 10 days and he’s been first class. Ruben’s got huge potential, but has to be consistent and we can offer him the platform and Premier League football and push him to where he needs to be.”

Fulham boss Scott Parker
Parker has added several signings to his squad

Meanwhile, Parker says he is “nervous” every time the club conduct a Covid test at Fulham.

He has experience in dealing with the pandemic – two of his players tested positive at the end of May.

He still fears the club’s chances of top-flight success could partly hinge on the results of swabs rather than just performances on the pitch.

Is he holding his breath?

“Yeah – and for quite a long time,” Parker said.

“You know if you get a couple of negative tests you lose key players, or myself, or some of my staff.

“It’s the times we live in, but it still makes me nervous, because you don’t know what’s going to happen – and that (not knowing) is part of it”.