Hoddle makes bold prediction about Loftus-Cheek

Glenn Hoddle has predicted that Ruben Loftus-Cheek will become a key player for club and country if he is given a regular place in the Chelsea side.

The England midfielder has struggled to fully establish himself as a first-team player, with a persistent back problem not helping his cause.

But he has impressed when given a chance by Blues boss Maurizio Sarri this season and was outstanding in the Europa League semi-final first leg against Eintracht Frankfurt before being substituted late on.

And former Chelsea player and manager Hoddle believes Loftus-Cheek has earned the right to be a regular starter and would take his game to an even higher level if given that vote of confidence.

Speaking on BT Sport, Hoddle said: “I just think manager has got to trust him more and more. There’s more to come from this lad – we haven’t seen the best of him.

“If he’s given the shirt and he knows the manager’s going to put him in and he’s going to say ‘Right, you’re a (number) eight for me and I want to play with a holding player and two eights and you’re one of them’…there’s more to come from him if he’s given the shirt and plays consistently.

“Then I think he can get back into the England team. He’s got such a frame. He might have to score a few more goals…(but) if you look at other players at Chelsea, they’re nowhere near his (goals) record. He deserves a chance.”

Sarri praised Loftus-Cheek after the 1-1 draw in Germany, where Pedro scored a potentially crucial away goal to put Chelsea in a strong position ahead of next week’s second leg at Stamford Bridge.

“Loftus is a very important player. He improved a lot during the season,” Sarri said.

“When he is at the top physically he is a very important player for us. He is always in trouble with his back. It’s not easy for him to have training with consistency.

“But in this game he was really fit. Unfortunately in the last 10 minutes he had cramp so he called me for a substitution.”