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Loftus-Cheek to miss Europa League final with ruptured Achilles tendon

13:49 BST 16/05/2019
Ruben Loftus-Cheek Chelsea 2018-19
The England international will also miss this summer's Nations League finals and is facing up to nine months on the sidelines

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been ruled out of the Europa League final after initial tests on his injury picked up against the New England Revolution on Wednesday showed he has ruptured his Achilles tendon.

Goal understands the England international will miss between five and nine months of action, meaning he will sit out this summer's Nations League finals with the Three Lions and much of the first half of next season.

Chelsea later confirmed on Thursday that Loftus-Cheek will undergo surgery on the affected area after consulting a specialist.

The 23-year-old pulled up after an innocuous challenge in Boston as Maurizio Sarri's side took part in the 'Final Whistle on Hate' match against the MLS outfit - a friendly game organised to raise money to help organisations fighting anti-Semitism and discrimination across the world.

But the match is now likely to be remembered for the injury to Loftus-Cheek, who left the stadium on crutches and wearing a protective boot after being substituted in the second half.

He returned to England with the rest of the squad on Thursday morning and underwent immediate tests, with the results suggesting the worst fears of the club's medical team.

Loftus-Cheek has already spoken to his friends within the game about the extent of the injury which will see him miss what he described as the "biggest match of his career" against Arsenal in Baku on May 29.

Despite not featuring much in the first half of the season, Loftus-Cheek has grown in stature during the closing months of the campaign, starting six of the Blues' last seven Premier League matches as well as scoring in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

He joins fellow academy graduate Callum Hudson-Odoi in the treatment room, with the teenage forward having suffered a similar injury in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Loftus-Cheek's injury now leaves Sarri, who had previously spoken of his concern at having to play Wednesday's friendly so soon after the end of the Premier League season, with only three fully-fit midfielders to choose from for the final.

His absence will likely hand an opportunity to either Mateo Kovacic or Ross Barkley - who scored twice in the 3-0 win over the Revolution - to take their place in the line-up alongside Jorginho.

Both could still play, though it is hoped that N'Golo Kante will recover from a hamstring injury suffered against Watford in late May in time to play.

The France international has stepped up his recovery in recent days, with his return potentially set to hand Sarri a massive boost in his bid to win his first trophy since taking over at Stamford Bridge last summer.