THE last time Ruben Loftus-Cheek went out on loan, it sparked his England career.

Now the 24-year-old is hoping another temporary spell away from Stamford Bridge can kickstart it.

Loftus-Cheek enjoyed a transformative loan at Crystal Palace three years ago that readied him for Chelsea’s first team.

But he was set back by an Achilles injury which kept him out for 13 months, suffered in a Blues charity match in April last year.

It has led to him being farmed out again, this time to rivals Fulham, where he hopes playing regularly will both prove his fitness and put him back on the path he was on after leaving Palace.

CHELSEA NEWS LIVE: Click here for the latest Blues news

Speaking ahead of the Cottagers’ hosting of the Eagles, RLC said: “I really took a lot from that Palace loan.

“I had a lot of experience in the Premier League, and obviously that kick-started my international career.

“Hopefully Fulham can do the same thing, after being out for so long with injury, regain that same feel for the game. This is why I have come here.

“Those games were crucial for me. If I don’t go to Palace, I don’t make the England team.”

Loftus-Cheek was initially signed by Frank de Boer, who was axed after only four games and replaced by Roy Hodgson.

The ex-England boss’s straight-talking approach was exactly what was needed for a raw Loftus-Cheek, who had only made six Prem starts before arriving at Selhurst Park.

He added: “He is a fantastic coach. I really enjoyed playing under Roy.

“As a manager he says things how they are and I needed that at that moment. I learned a lot.

“Palace defensively are fantastic in that shape, hard to break down and lethal on the counter-attack. So we know what’s coming.”

Fulham boss Scott Parker said last week that he still expected Loftus-Cheek to have a long-term future at Chelsea as he knew how much Frank Lampard thought of him.

Lampard did actually start the midfielder in the season opener at Brighton, despite splashing more than £150million on new attacking signings in the summer transfer window.

But RLC knew his chances were going to be limited this year with all the new arrivals and his injury problems.

Interestingly, it was he who went to Lampard to discuss him going out for another loan spell.

The midfielder explained: “We had an honest conversation. I was the one who initiated it. I felt like it was paramount that I played a lot of football this season.

“With the strength in depth at Chelsea and how I was feeling, I was not sure being out for so long that when I had the opportunity that I could play fantastically and hold down a place in the starting XI.

“I was not 100 per cent I could do that, because I need to build my confidence back up.

“That was basically the theme of the chat. The gaffer agreed on that and things went on from there.”

Parker himself was a young midfielder at Chelsea who realised he was not going to cut it there and left permanently for Newcastle in 2005 after just a year at Stamford Bridge.

But he does not see his new loan signing being in the same situation — and Loftus-Cheek agrees.

The Lewisham lad said: “I still see my future at Chelsea.

“I believe in my ability 100 per cent. This is obviously not a permanent move.

“This is a platform for me to go and express myself and find that form that was showing a couple of seasons ago.

“I believe in my ability, and we will see where that takes me.”

All the way to the Euros at the end of the season, perhaps?

Loftus-Cheek, whose last of his ten caps came in November 2018, replied: “There is a target there definitely, and that is definitely in the back of my mind.

“But at the forefront is Fulham. I think if I play well with Fulham there is a chance, and that will be a consequence of what I do here.”

Source: Read Full Article