Ex-England and Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce has claimed that Ruben Loftus-Cheek could have been on a par with Tottenham star duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli, had he had more first-team football at a younger age.
Speaking to the Press Association, Allardyce said: “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.”
Allardyce used Alli’s experience at League One side MK Dons as an example of how a young player can develop their career before becoming a Premier League star. “
You should be playing first-team football at some level at 17, not 20 or 21. Dele Alli is the perfect example of that, coming through the ranks at MK Dons,” he said.
“We need more players playing football at league level and ultimately going back to their club and trying to prove themselves.”
Having won two FA Youth Cup titles at Chelsea, Loftus-Cheek has never quite made himself a consistent selection in the first team at Stamford Bridge.
He has made 32 appearances in three seasons with his only goal coming in a 4-0 victory away at Aston Villa in April 2016.
Last season, the 21-year old played only 30 minutes of Premier League football and this the latest on a long line of young Chelsea players who have had to leave Stamford Bridge in order to find first-team football.
Loftus-Cheek has joined Crystal Palace on a season long-loan becoming new manager Frank De Boer’s first new signing.