Ruben Loftus-Cheek was enjoying a breakout season at the age of 21, featuring as a full-time starter for the first time in his career while on loan to Crystal Palace and debuting for England in November, before an ankle injury brought everything to a screeching halt last month.
Now, more than a month later, Loftus-Cheek’s ankle hasn’t improved after a period of rest, and surgery has emerged as a very real possibility should no progress be made over the next month. As such, Loftus-Cheek, now 22, has returned to Chelsea for further evaluation by his parent club’s medical team.
“Chelsea insist on having him back there on this period of rehabilitation, so we won’t really know until such time that they release him back to us. The agreement was that he would spend two to three weeks without having a surgical intervention, in the hope that the problem he has will be resolved naturally.
“During that time, Chelsea have insisted they take care of that because they regard him as their player. We will now wait for that period to pass, then he’ll come back to us. We will then test whether or not the injury is still there or whether, as they think, the injury has cleared up. So there’s another 10-14 days to go before I can tell you anything about Ruben Loftus-Cheek at all. I haven’t seen him literally for 10 days.”
With the 2018 World Cup now just four and a half months away, ankle surgery would almost certainly eliminate Loftus-Cheek from consideration for Gareth Southgate‘s squad.