CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho issued highly-rated midfield prospect Ruben Loftus-Cheek with a stinging rebuke for his performance in yesterday’s post-season friendly win over Sydney FC.
Loftus-Cheek, 19, is considered the best placed of a clutch of talented Blues youngsters to become the first academy graduate to establish themselves as a first-team regular since long-serving skipper John Terry.
But he was accused of failing to chase down opponents during the 1-0 victory in Australia, secured through forward Loic Remy’s strike, and hauled off again just 30 minutes after his introduction as a substitute.
“Ruben said he had a pain in his back but what I was feeling was that he only had the pain when Sydney had the ball,” said Mourinho.
“When Chelsea had the ball he was playing very well, but when Sydney had the ball I think he was more impressed by watching [Nemanja] Matic and [John Obi] Mikel work, instead of him working.
“So with Ruben it’s one step back in terms of my relationship with him. If he doesn’t know what it is to play for me and Chelsea it’s one step back. He has to learn that at 19 you have to run three times more than the others, you have to play to your limits and not play like a superstar with the ball at your feet because this is not Under-18s.”
Loftus-Cheek received better news when he was confirmed in England’s final 23-man squad for the Under-21 European Championships, which start in the Czech Republic on 17 June.
He was joined by Chelsea team-mate Nathaniel Chalobah, but forward colleague Patrick Bamford missed out due to injury while Tottenham defender Eric Dier was the most high-profile omission.