Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville disagree over Fulham midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s progression but both feel he needs to see more action.
The duo were speaking as part of Sky Sports‘ coverage of Monday night’s clash between Leicester City and Fulham. The Cottagers pulled off an unlikely victory, winning 2-1 at King Power Stadium to move out of the bottom three.
Loftus Cheek started the match and lasted 77 minutes before being replaced by Mario Lemina. The Londoners were 2-0 ahead by then thanks to first-half goals by Ademola Lookman and an Ivan Cavaleiro penalty.
Scott Parker’s side had missed three spot kicks in a row before Cavaleiro fired home from 12 yards out. Harvey Barnes pulled one back for the Foxes with four minutes to go but it was too little too late for the hosts.
Ahead of kick-off, the pundits discussed Loftus Cheek’s truncated career to date. Still on the books at Chelsea, the 24-year-old has made just 82 appearances for the Blues since his 2014 debut.
He spent the 2017-2018 campaign on loan with Crystal Palace and was loaned to Fulham on October 5 this year.
Neville was asked whether it is a big chance for Loftus-Cheek but Carragher jumped in, saying: “We say that every season.”
The former Liverpool defender was implying that he has flattered to deceive over the years. But Neville was quick to defend the man with 10 England caps, suggesting game time is essential to his development.
“I take he needs to play every week, play 40 games a season, year in, year out and have consistency and belief, and I’m sure he’ll have a great career,” he said.
Old foes at it again
Having faced each other on the pitch many times, the pair of pundits do not hold back in the studio. Neville feels that Loftus-Cheek is being unfairly judged and should be left to prove his doubters wrong.
“I take offence to statements like that because you’re judging him against expectations he hasn’t set for himself,” he added. “What Jamie’s judging him against is the expectations. He didn’t set those expectations. He’s got a massive talent, he hasn’t played enough games to have a chance to show his full potential yet.”
The London-born player made 25 Premier League appearances for Chelsea in 2018-2019. He enjoyed the same number of outings with Palace the season before but was on the peripheries last term.
It remains to be seen whether he has a future at Stamford Bridge but he already has five appearances for Chelsea’s neighbours.
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