For Ruben Loftus-Cheek, the long wait to play 90 minutes of football is over.
Not since May 12, 2019 as the 24-year-old played out a full competitive match in a Chelsea shirt.
However, one of the Blues’s brightest academy products managed to play the entire game of Chelsea’s U23s 0-0 draw with Everton at Aldershot.
It has been a frustrating wait for the midfielder, who ruptured his Achilles’ tendon in the post season friendly ahead of last season’s Europa League final.
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Set-backs have prolonged his much-anticipated return to action, and while he has been on the bench for two of Frank Lampard’s matches this season, he has failed to play a minute.
Monday night’s game was his latest test to get more vital minutes under his belt ahead of a potential return to the first team at the weekend.
And here’s how Loftus-Cheek, playing in the number ten role, got on during the match.
There didn’t seem to be any adverse issues for Loftus-Cheek making his first sprint in the game. As Chelsea broke, the midfielder looked to get on to the ball, however it wasn’t there for him.
It took a while for the midfielder to get his first touch, however, with the number 10 making his first in the seventh minute.
But just a moment later he had his first big involvement. Loftus-Cheek linked up well with Thierno Ballo, before Luke McCormick fired a shot into the arms of Everton goalkeeper Harry Tyrer.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek ahead of the U23s match (Photo by Clive Howes – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Loftus-Cheek started to get more involved as the half wore on, finding pockets of space in the gaps where he could influence play.
There was a moment in the 23rd minute which would make fans wince as Loftus-Cheek slid into a full-blooded challenge with Ryan Astley. Luckily both players were able to unscathed…