Sam Allardyce: “Ruben Loftus-Cheek Could Have Been Like Dele Alli”

Sam Allardyce: “Ruben Loftus-Cheek Could Have Been Like Dele Alli”
Jul 28, 2017

Crystal Palace News

Former England & Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce has claimed that Ruben Loftus-Cheek could have had a career on the same level as Tottenham duo Dele Alli and Harry Kane if he had played more first team football at a younger age.

After being on Chelsea’s books for thirteen years, Loftus-Cheek joined Crystal Palace on a season-long loan, becoming Dutch manager Frank De Boer’s first signing at the club. The 21-year-old made his senior debut at Chelsea in December 2014 but has only managed to make another 31 appearances over 3 years.

Loftus-Cheek only managed to play a combined 30 minutes of Premier League football for Antonio Conte’s side and Allardyce fears the youngster’s development has stagnated by spending the years in Chelsea’s reserves. Allardyce, an ex-Crystal Palace coach, believes that a move to Selhurst Park may revitalize the 21-year-old’s career.

“It’s nice to see Ruben Loftus-Cheek going to Crystal Palace,” Allardyce told the Press Association.

“I think if he’d done it five years ago he may well have been another Dele Alli or Harry Kane but unfortunately his development has been blocked by staying at Chelsea so long.”

“There aren’t enough (players) getting into first-team football as quickly as possible. You should be playing first-team football at some level at 17, not 20 or 21. Dele Alli is the perfect example of that, coming through the ranks at MK Dons.”

“We need more players playing football at Premier League level and ultimately going back to their club and trying to prove themselves.”

Crystal Palace head to France after finishing the Premier League Asia Trophy 2017 tournament. They face FC Metz on Saturday before completing their pre-season with a friendly against German side Schalke 04. Loftus-Cheek and his new teammates start the new Premier League season on Saturday 12 August against newly-promoted Huddersfield.

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