Scott Parker has backed Ruben Loftus-Cheek to really showcase his abilities as he finds his feet after a tough start to his Fulham loan spell.
The Chelsea star hasn’t featured as regularly as some may have expected during his temporary switch across west London. He completed the full 90 minutes for only the second time of his Whites stint during their 2-0 extra-time win over QPR at the weekend.
But his boss is adamant that there is more to come from the powerful midfielder.
“I thought he did very well against QPR,” assessed Parker.
“Ruben’s been out for some time – this is probably the only consistent run of games he’s had over the last 18 months. We’re certainly seeing big improvements in that. He came on against Everton, got a goal, and again at the weekend he showed his quality in moments.
“He’s probably getting to know us a little more and what’s expected of him. I certainly still see lots and lots of levels from Ruben – this is a technically gifted beyond belief player. I see him getting better and better with each game. Goals, assists, grabbing games by the scruff of the neck – these are all elements of Ruben’s game that he can do. There’s only a handful of players you can probably say that about, so it just shows you the capabilities he possesses.”
Parker also confirmed that a number of players who were missing from the QPR match would return to the squad for Wednesday’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur. The Whites boss hinted that had he known in advance of the Premier League’s plans to move the fixture forward, it would have impacted his thinking for the FA Cup clash.
“Everything has a consequence. We went for 120 minutes at the weekend. Like Jose managed the weekend – he knew had a fixture on Wednesday, whether that’s Aston Villa, or, maybe my knowledge that he may have known it would have been us. He definitely knew it was going to be one of us. At that moment you adapt and you try to work out the best scenario. You’re always looking at what games are coming up and how players are.
“Working players at the weekend who have been out for 10 days with Covid to get them up to speed because there’s six days left before your next fixture – these are all elements of management and professional sport. That’s constantly the balancing act of anyone in my position. That’s exactly what we tried to do.
“If this fixture was put in last week on Wednesday or Thursday, you adapt again. It probably wouldn’t have been ideal but I wouldn’t be sitting here moaning about it. But at this moment now, with the way it’s been done, it’s just unfair. It’s just not right. And when something is unfair and not right, that’s when I have a problem.
“The squad have reacted fine. They’ve come in and prepared as well as we can – they’re raring to go. There probably is an element where they want to get back out into competition. Can we use this for us? For sure we can. [To] galvanise us? I don’t feel like we need that. I feel like we’re in a good place – the team and the players are relishing the battles that we face every single weekend when we play in this division because that’s where we are.”
PHOTOS: KEITH GILLARD
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