Sarri: Loftus-Cheek can become a star at Chelsea

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The England international can become a leading man at the club, according to the Blues head coach

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri backed midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek to develop into a "great player" at the club, even if the Italian conceded he will be more important "in the future".

Loftus-Cheek, 22, entered the season off a successful loan at Crystal Palace which saw him earn a spot on England's World Cup spot roster in Russia.

However, the midfielder struggled to break into Sarri's side as he was limited to just three substitute appearances for Chelsea in the Premier League through the end of October.

Loftus-Cheek has only made one Premier League start this season, but he has made the most of his opportunities given in the Europa League, where he has made five starts. 

The England international is up to six goals this campaign, with three coming in a hat-trick against BATE in Europe. 

Loftus-Cheek has started two of Chelsea's last three games, but was on the bench for their lone Premier League contest.

Despite not having him in his preferred XI for the Premier League, Sarri feels Loftus-Cheek can become a star at Chelsea, and appeared to rule out any chance of the midfielder making a loan move in January.

"Ruben is a very good player and, potentially, he's a great player," the Italian told UK newspapers.

"He has played seven matches out of seven in the last month, so I'm really very happy with him. He's improving a lot from the tactical point of view.

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"In the future, he will be a midfielder but sometimes we need to use him as a winger, especially in the last part of matches with his physical impact. So he's a very important player for us.

"In the future, he will be more than important."

Sitting fourth in the Premier League table on 37 points, Chelsea host Leicester City on Saturday hoping to close the 11-point gap to league leaders Liverpool.

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