Loan spell could benefit Loftus-Cheek, says Lampard

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(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Frank Lampard holds Ruben Loftus-Cheek “in high regard” but says the 24-year-old midfielder may have to go on loan given the competition for places at the club.

An Achilles injury limited Loftus-Cheek to just nine appearances in all competitions last season.

He was handed a rare start in Chelsea’s season-opening win against Brighton & Hove Albion but was singled out for criticism by television pundits, who said he lacked pace and lost possession too often.

Aston Villa and West Ham United have been linked with a move for Loftus-Cheek and Lampard said it was important for the Englishman to get regular game time.

“I am very open with Ruben. We have had a couple of conversations in the last week. He is fit as a fiddle so he could play week in, week out, but he needs to play,” Lampard said.

“He has done a lot of work and would have been playing a lot of games earlier if it wasn’t for lockdown. There is a possibility Ruben might go out to play games because I think that would be great for him.”

“We hold him in high regard. He wants to play and the reality is I have a lot of competition in those areas.”

Chelsea face Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup later on Tuesday.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford