Sport Tuchel: Loftus-Cheek can decide his Chelsea future
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Thomas Tuchel says Ruben Loftus-Cheek can "decide his own future" and earn a place in Chelsea's first-team squad next season.
Loftus-Cheek, who made his Chelsea debut in 2014 but has seen his progress hampered by injury, spent last season on loan at Fulham as they were relegated from the Premier League.
Reports have suggested Chelsea are looking to offload the 25-year-old this summer, but head coach Tuchel says Loftus-Cheek has the opportunity to prove himself ahead of the new season.Chelsea fixtures 2021/22: Arsenal, Liverpool in opening gamesChelsea punish defensive errors to beat ArsenalWest Ham's Zouma deal difficult; Milenkovic talks held
"It's too early to judge Ruben" said Tuchel after Chelsea beat Arsenal in a pre-season friendly at the Emirates. "He has everything in his hands. He can decide his own future."
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Loftus-Cheek plans to remain at Stamford Bridge and has promised that this will be the season "I hit the ground running" at Chelsea.
"I had last season as a season where I can find my feet, and it definitely felt like that at the start," he told the Chelsea website. "I was struggling mentally and needed to focus on just taking risks in training and get that feel back.
"But it eventually came and I was doing really well in games, so I've had my injury and I've had a season now to get fit and feel confident in my body and this season is where I hit the ground running."
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"I feel really fit now and strong, and hopefully the injuries stay away," Loftus-Cheek added. "Last season was my first full injury-free season which is a massive positive for me, because I always used to get niggles.
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"Even though I was fit I'd be out for a week or a couple of days, miss a couple of matches, but last season was good for my body to be fit every training session and available for every game."Tuchel non-committal on Zouma future
Defender Kurt Zouma, who is West Ham's top target this summer, has been linked with a transfer away from Stamford Bridge as Chelsea pursue a deal for Sevilla's Jules Kounde.
Tuchel was coy when asked about Zouma's future, saying: "Kurt comes from a very different situation [to Loftus-Cheek].
"He has been with the team for half a year and I know what he can give to the team. He was part of a very successful half season.
"He had some tough decisions against him, so the situation isn't the same as Ruben."
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