Ruben Loftus-Cheek fires parting shot at Chelsea after sealing AC Milan transfer

Mauricio Pochettino previews Chelsea's clash with West Ham

Ruben Loftus-Cheek appears to have fired a parting shot at Chelsea after leaving the club this summer. The midfielder joined AC Milan earlier this summer in a deal worth £15million, and he hopes that regular opportunities in Italy will see him work his way back into Gareth Southgate’s plans.

Loftus-Cheek was one of several brutal exits at Stamford Bridge this summer, with new manager Mauricio Pochettino orchestrating a significant rebuild. The ex-Tottenham boss made it no secret upon his arrival that he wanted to shake up his midfield ranks and build a core squad around Enzo Fernandez.

With that, sales were required to raise funds and also bolster Chelsea’s Financial Fair Play situation. Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic and Loftus-Cheek were subsequently all offloaded, and the latter has not shied away from addressing his spell with the Blues.

In an extended interview with The Times, the 27-year-old revealed that he felt he was only truly improving as a footballer when he was not with Chelsea. He explained: “The times I left Chelsea I improved the most, which is a bit strange considering I was there so long. When I left for Palace I matured and started playing for England. Then, again, I left for Fulham and I felt like I improved a hell of a lot.”

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Injuries played a key role in hampering Loftus-Cheek’s chances at Chelsea, though he did make 25 Premier League appearances in total last season under Graham Potter and Frank Lampard. The versatile midfielder was deployed in numerous positions during that time, with stints at wingback not uncommon during the opening stages of the campaign.

However, Loftus-Cheek admits that as last season concluded, leaving the club became a real possibility. He explained: “I always contemplated moving. This past season, coming towards the end, it felt like the right time to move on.

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“I was starting to feel really good in my body and my injuries had cleared up. After the past two seasons feeling really good and not playing in the position you want to play, I was feeling like a caged animal. I just want to be free now to play, and I feel like it was the right time to move on.”

The midfielder then touched on how linking up with fellow Chelsea academy graduate Fikayo Tomori at the San Siro has helped him adjust to life in Italy. Loftus-Cheek has also been joined by Christian Pulisic at AC Milan, who was also offloaded by Chelsea this summer to make space for new signings.

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