Jose Mourinho has promised Ruben Loftus-Cheek he will start Chelsea’s next game and be given a run of games after the international break.
Loftus-Cheek is in the England Under 21 squad to play Kazakhstan in Coventry next week but has been primed to face Aston Villa when he returns to club football.
Chelsea are misfiring. Languishing 16th in the Barclays Premier League and the manager is prepared to offer one of his brightest young prospects a chance to establish his place in midfield.
Mourinho said: ‘Clearly it is time. Not to play four, five or six kids – some are not ready – but Ruben is a case where he’s more ready, and if everything goes normal during the next two weeks, he’s a player to start the next game and a run of matches, to try and get that stability as a first-team choice.
‘Not to save the season. The profile of the moment and the profile of the young players makes it a good moment.’
Loftus-Cheek is 19, and identified last season when the manager handed him a senior debut as the young player closest to breaking into the Chelsea team.
He was not sent on loan like so many other young players at the club has started twice this season, in the Champions League against Maccabi Tel Aviv and in the Capital One Cup at Walsall.
Mourinho said: ‘In difficult moments, what’s the best thing? Can the most experienced players cope better? When I don’t play John Terry everyone says: “Why don’t you play the captain? The team needs the captain’s leadership and personality”.
‘With Ruben, it is exactly the same. Ruben, Matic, Fabregas or Ramires? Who can cope the best with the pressure? Maybe with the situation so negative for us, the young player feels less pressure than when the team is top of the league.’

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