Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s resurgence is there for everyone to see and his latest performance against Malmo was better than Paulo Dybala and Kingsley Coman’s respective outings in the Champions League this week.
Loftus-Cheek, 25, played the full 90 minutes against the Swedish Champions and it’s fair to say that has vindicated Rio Ferdinand’s Yaya Toure claim with what he has done this week on the European stage.
“I love him (Loftus-Cheek),” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “I’ve always known about him from friends at Chelsea. He’s a fantastic specimen, first and foremost. I liken him, in full flow, to someone like Yaya Toure.
“He can intimidate players. When he turns and goes full pelt, it’s unplayable at times. As a centre back that’s one of your biggest fears.
“He’s a fantastic talent. He’s as comfortable in the wide areas of a front three as he is in front of the defence. You don’t get that with many players. The strings he has to his bow are beautiful.”
To follow up on these comments, the midfielder’s dominant performance against Chelsea’s Group H opponents has earned him more respect from rival fans alike coupled with Blues supporters who voted the player as the best player in gameweek 4 of this season’s Champions League.
In a poll that the Champions League social media account put up on Twitter after all the action came to a close on Wednesday night for this week, the ex-Fulham player gained the most votes ahead of the likes of Juventus’ Paulo Dybala and Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman.
In fourth place in this certain poll was Pedro Goncalves of Sporting Lisbon after the youngster played an instrumental part in his side’s 4-1 win over Turkey’s Besiktas.
The Portuguese received 10.1% of the vote share with Coman 9.2% ahead of the aforementioned player in third place with a total share split of 19.3%.
The Chelsea target gained one assist in the Bavarians’ 5-2 home thrashing of Portuguese giants Benfica.
13% ahead of the Frenchman with 32.3% of the total votes lies Dybala in second place after the Italian scored two goals in Juve’s comprehensive 4-2 home win against Russian Champions Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Remarkably, the 25-year-old has come out on top against world-class talent with Chelsea’s number 12 picking up 38.3% of the total 39,672 votes that were cast by football fans (at the time of writing).
Something that would have massively pleased manager Thomas Tuchel who still wants to see more from his star man despite this great achievement.
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In his assessment of Loftus-Cheek’s performance against Malmo, Tuchel said in his post-match press conference: “I was a bit worried in the first 15 minutes if he could find another gear but I heard before the game that it was his Champions League start since 2015 so I think we can give the boys credit sometimes to maybe be a bit nervous, find their way into the game.
“He fought his way through. Maybe it is symbolic that he didn’t disappear or stay invisible. He wants to dominate opponents, not just to be a part of the game because I think he is too talented to just be a part of the group.
“He needs to use his full potential, this is the absolute key for him and if he does it, he can be a big part of the squad and that is why I am very happy. He was involved in a lot of dangerous moments for us and I am happy he pushes himself through these little downs like in the first 15 minutes then comes up with a strong performance.
“The next step is to show consistently and to push himself because his limit can be constantly pushed, he has so much potential.”
Loftus Cheek himself has told the Chelsea FC website how the German coach has got him to a point where pundits are making ambitious claims like Ferdinand did on this occasion.
“We have some talks about my game and he’s a manager who always wants to help you,” the roaming midfielder revealed.
“He’s always trying to give me tips on how to get better. “He’s a fantastic manager and he knows his stuff so I’m in a good place to listen to him and develop that way.”
It’s a great start to be outperforming the likes of Dybala and Coman but Loftus-Cheek has a while to go until he reaches that Yaya Toure level on a consistent basis.