Former England manager Sam Allardyce has today revealed his opinion that Chelsea youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek had the ability to reach the level of Harry Kane and Dele Alli from a young age.
Loftus-Cheek, a 21-year-old English youth international, came up through the youth ranks at Stamford Bridge, making his first-team debut in 2014.
Despite sky-high expectations, however, the powerful midfielder has gone on to make just 31 more appearances for the Blues, the vast majority of which were from the bench.
On the move
As a result, Loftus-Cheek was sent out on loan to fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace for the coming season earlier this month, becoming the first signing of Eagles’ boss Frank De Boer’s tenure at Selhurst Park.
Despite the Stamford Bridge hierarchy maintaining high hopes for the future for their talented youngster, former Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce has revealed his opinion that Loftus-Cheek may have already reached the level of the likes of Tottenham stars Harry Kane and Dele Alli, had he secured a move away from Chelsea earlier in his career.
Speaking to the Press Association, Allardyce mused:
‘It’s nice to see Ruben Loftus-Cheek going to Crystal Palace.’
‘I think if he’d done it five years ago he may well have been another Dele Alli or Harry Kane but unfortunately his development has been blocked by staying at Chelsea so long.’
‘There aren’t enough (players) getting into first-team football as quickly as possible. You should be playing first-team football at some level at 17, not 20 or 21. Dele Alli is the pefect example of that, coming through the ranks at MK Dons.’
‘We need more players playing football at league level and ultimately going back to their club and trying to prove themselves.’