Thomas Tuchel says Ruben Loftus-Cheek reminds him of Michael Ballack as Chelsea host rivals Fulham on Saturday, but admits the midfielder's future is still "not decided".
Loftus-Cheek, who has been capped 10 times by England and went to the 2018 World Cup, joined Fulham on a season-long loan in October to gain more game time after injury problems saw him drop down the pecking order at Chelsea.
The 25-year-old has played 82 times for Chelsea in total since making his debut in 2014, scoring 12 goals, and played a big part in helping them win the 2019 Europa League under Maurizio Sarri, scoring in the semi-final second leg against Frankfurt and registering a hat-trick in a group-stage win over BATE Borisov.
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His list of honours also include the 2017 Premier League as well as his trophy-laden youth career which saw him lift the Toulon Tournament with England U21s in 2016, being named Player of the Tournament, two FA Youth Cups and the UEFA Youth League.
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Tuchel admits that while Loftus-Cheek's Chelsea future remains undecided, with the midfielder contracted until 2024, he reminds him of legendary German player Ballack, who won the Premier League, three FA Cups and the EFL Cup in his time at Stamford Bridge.
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When asked if he was keen to get Loftus-Cheek back at Chelsea for next season, Tuchel said: "It is not decided yet. I was quite a fan of him when he was younger.
"He reminded me of Michael Ballack in his style of play, his movements. There were links with him moving to Germany. We are well aware of his talent.
"I don't know why things have not worked out as he wished but now he is doing good, leaving his footprints there [at Fulham] - I cannot judge him from TV and hearsay, I love to work with players then to give my opinion.
"No decision has been made [on his future] just yet."
Chelsea, who are unbeaten in their last 18 home games against Fulham in all competitions ahead of Saturday's meeting - live on Sky Sports - also face a Champions League semi-final second-leg tie against Real Madrid on Wednesday.
The aggregate score sees the sides locked at 1-1 after Christian Pulisic secured a vital away goal for the Blues in Spain on Tuesday.
Pulisic has been in impressive form as of late, and when quizzed if he can have a similar impact as former Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, Tuchel added: "He took his [shirt] number, so he has to live with it!
"I'm happy that he has arrived at the most decisive moment of the season in top shape and good confidence. He must feel comfortable in his body and calm in his mind.
"When he feels like this, he can be a decisive guy for us. We will have to see about tomorrow, if he starts or comes off the bench, but we are really happy with him stepping up and playing full of confidence."
Chelsea find themselves fourth in the Premier League and have just five games left with West Ham (fifth) three points behind them, Liverpool (sixth) four points behind them and Tottenham (seventh) five points behind them.
Everton, who are eighth, have a game in hand over all of those sides and can also climb the table in what has become of the most fascinating races for European football in recent years.
With their Champions League semi-final second leg looming on Wednesday, Tuchel admits it has been difficult to get the balance right between the different competitions, with Chelsea also making the FA Cup final this season.
"Absolutely, there is no doubt about it," he said. "We are in the middle of the [top-four] race, it is not easy to switch from one competition to another but who cares?
"It is my job to find the mix, to put the players in the right mindset and to prepare for this match in a way they all understand the importance."
Madrid's Marcelo could be prevented from playing at Chelsea on Wednesday after being chosen to work in a polling station during a regional election, newspaper El Mundo has reported.
Tuchel also confirmed on Friday that Mateo Kovacic and Antonio Rudiger remain injured.
Chelsea are on an incredible run under Thomas Tuchel. Since the German took charge, they've lost just two of their last 22 games, moved into the top four in the Premier League, reached the FA Cup final, and take an away goal into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid, with the score at 1-1.
However, Tuchel has made it clear there is one area where he wants to see more from his team: scoring goals.
Chelsea's mean defence has kept 16 clean sheets during his reign but at the other end there have been just 18 goals in 14 Premier League matches and Tuchel told Sky Sports last week, during an exclusive interview, he expected more of his front players.
On this week's Pitch to Post Preview Podcast, Sky Sports features writer Nick Wright joined Peter Smith to discuss the Blues' struggles in front of goal and what can be done to address them...