Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s Chelsea future is and has been a constant topic of conversation for some time now, which is impressive considering that he’s just 22 years old.

After spending last year on loan, the first of his career, it looked like he might push for a summer exit (especially with plenty of competition for minutes in midfield), and after he barely played the first couple months, thanks in large part to an injury or two, rumors along those lines raised a cacophony on the backpages.

Loftus-Cheek himself heard them, too, but he remains unmoved by them, for now.

“I hear it a lot, and I can see why people are saying that, because I’m 22 now and haven’t got too many Premier League starts to my name. I haven’t played too many minutes, whether it be in the Premier League and the Championship, and at 22 it’s not seen as enough by some people. I do hear it. I love the club and I love Chelsea, I want to play for Chelsea.

“Last season [moving to Palace on loan] was a decision I made because I hadn’t played any football really, at the age of 21, and last season was great for me at Palace – 24 [appearances] I think I had in the Premier League, and then to go on and make my England debut.

“I made a lot of steps last year. Playing football was massive for me and you can see why people want to see me play, and I want to play as well.”

-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: Sky

But since returning to fitness, RLC’s minutes have picked up. He’s become a solid part of the rotation in midfield and, as it turns out after Wednesday night, is now also an option at wing-forward. He’s kept much more veteran options like Danny Drinkwater and Victor Moses out of the team in those two positions.

Maurizio Sarri has ruled out Crystal Palace signing Ruben Loftus-Cheek again on loan in January. Palace, who Chelsea face on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, were hoping to lure the midfielder back to…

If RLC can stay healthy (which he hasn’t always been able to do), and can continue improving and adding a tactical component to his excellent attacking game (which Sarri once again repeated in his pre-match press conference on Friday), he could truly establish himself as a key player at Chelsea for a long time to come.