Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek has said he wished he had gone on loan earlier in his career.
The 22-year-old, who has been included in England’s 23-man World Cup squad for Russia, impressed while on loan at Crystal Palace last season – his first loan move away from Stamford Bridge.
He made his debut for Chelsea as an 18-year-old in December 2014 and has played a total of 32 games for the Blues, but just 13 of those have been starts.
“I was at Chelsea for a while and progressed quite quickly until I got to the first team and then it was different,” Loftus-Cheek said.
“When I got to that 17, 18 stage, I was just thinking about playing for the first team on a Saturday and being in the first team, rather than going out to play somewhere else on loan.
“But looking back now, I do realise the benefits of playing game after game after game after game, so in that sense I wish I had played more games.
“It is difficult when you are not playing to still train your best, still eat right and do all the right things because there is no reward at the end of the week.
“That is the toughest thing mentally when you are not playing, but it definitely pays off in the future.”
Loftus-Cheek scored twice in 25 appearances for the Eagles and played a big role as the club avoided relegation from the Premier League.
He cpuld return and fight for a regular place at Chelsea next season but there is also the possibility of another season away on loan.
Loftus-Cheek admitted it was a massive ask to make the jump from youth football to the Chelsea first team.
“There are world-class players in front of you and that step up is difficult at a big club like Chelsea, no matter how talented you are,” he added.
“Experience plays a big role as well, at the top level. I understand why it is difficult.”