Ruben Loftus-Cheek: Chelsea midfielder 'hardened' by injury but in no rush with recovery

"The mental side of being injured is hard. Going through the tough times it hardens you and makes you a better player."

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been out since May 2019 with a ruptured Achilles
Image: Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been out since May 2019 with a ruptured Achilles

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek says his body is his biggest strength as well as his "weakness" and insists he will not rush his comeback from injury.

The 24-year-old has not been seen on the pitch since suffering a ruptured Achilles in May 2019, a cruel end to what he calls his "breakthrough season" at Stamford Bridge.

Loftus-Cheek's rehabilitation this year had stepped up with a series of outings for the club's U23s, but the enforced football shutdown following the coronavirus pandemic has delayed a comeback.

Despite that obvious frustration, Loftus-Cheek is staying positive and is willing to be patient in his recovery.

In a video - filmed before the coronavirus pandemic - Loftus Cheek met England rugby captain Owen Farrell and Team GB sprinter Adam Gemili to discuss his road back to full fitness.

"I have to manage my body, and that's what I've learned a lot about," he said. "So it's working smart, working hard but listening to your body as well.

"My physical presence - how powerful I am - is my biggest strength, but my body is also my weakness.

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"The mental side of being injured is hard. Going through the tough times it hardens you and makes you a better player.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Image: Loftus-Cheek scored ten goals in all competitions last season

"I have to have the mindset of not regretting those things. I have those moments: 'who would I be now if I hadn't had those injuries?' But I have to counter that as well and say 'who would I be without those injuries?'

"There's a right way to think, and a wrong way to think. You have to practise, it's a skill, to think properly.

"I just really didn't want to rush. The hardest part for me has been actually watching the games. Seeing them play, and seeing them win, and lose in the bad times, that's so hard.

"Playing for Chelsea, it's deep. And that feeling of playing for the shirt, that really comes out when you're on the pitch."

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