Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is toying with the idea of using Ruben Loftus-Cheek when he returns from injury, with the England international hoping to be back in training in six weeks.
The 23-year-old was expected to miss much of the season after rupturing his Achilles in Chelsea’s friendly against the New England Revolution back in May, shortly before the Europa League final.
But Loftus-Cheek confirmed to Sky Sports that he hopes to return to first-team training in ‘4-6 weeks’ and Lampard is already thinking about how best to utilise him.
According to The Sun, that could see Loftus-Cheek asked to lead the line, with Lampard giving serious considering to deploying the midfielder up front.
One of his predecessors, Antonio Conte, also dabbled with the idea, while the struggles of Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham in front of goal so far this season have given Lampard cause to evaluate other options.
Loftus-Cheek is expected to return to full fitness in late November and could be up to speed for the bust festive fixture period, while Lampard will also be boosted by the return of Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Lampard is a big fan of Loftus-Cheek and spoke glowingly about him while working as a pundit for the BBC at last summer’s World Cup: ‘Ruben is someone I know really well from when he was coming through the youth ranks at Chelsea.
‘Straight away he made an impression because of his physical attributes, but he knew how to play too – he had great ability and even then he could drift past people on the ball.
‘He does that even better now, with his pace and power when he is running at you, which makes him different from a lot of modern-day midfield players – and puts a fear into the opposition that they do not usually have.’