Chelsea and England midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has staked his claim for a future at Stamford Bridge as he hopes to impress boss Maurizio Sarri.
Speaking with Nizaar Kinsella, Chelsea correspondent for Goal, the 22-year-old announced his intentions to stay with his boyhood club; aiming to break into the starting eleven during the upcoming season.
The highly rated prospect started in the Blues final pre-season friendly against Lyon at Stamford Bridge, aiming to put his name forward for a place in Sarri's starting lineup for the season opener at Huddersfield on Saturday.
Loftus-Cheek has been at Chelsea since the age of 8 and has been long regarded by those in and around the club as one the brightest talents to be developed within Chelsea's youth system. After struggling for first-team minutes since his debut in 2015, Loftus-Cheek was sent out on loan to Crystal Palace, where he flourished under Roy Hodsgon.
Returning early from his exploits with England at the World Cup, the midfielder still finds himself battling for a place in what has developed into a strong area of the pitch this summer. Chelsea have recently announced the acquisition of Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid on a season-long loan deal, which adds more obstacles for Loftus-Cheek to overcome.
Though Loftus-Cheek isn't letting that faze him as he aims to break through, saying: "At the moment, I am at Chelsea, my mind is on playing well here and improving here. I will always do my best, whoever is the manager. I will play well for myself and improve myself.
"Whoever the manager is, it doesn’t change how I want to play. I will always do my best and that’s just my mindset to improve myself. However, that comes across to the manager is what it is. I look to play well for myself first.
"I think that the young boys have been doing really well. I don’t think the young boys will be handed chances just like that, you have to do well in training, you have to keep pushing so we will do that and see where we get to this season.
"There is still a lot for me to work on, there’s a lot of room for improvement so I will carry on working and hopefully I can do well this season. I have been back for just four or five days now, it was tough but I needed that so onwards and upwards. Let’s keep working hard and getting fitter.
"All the games are three points so we take that as a must win, all the games are hard in the Premier League so we have to be on it. We go back on to the training pitch and work at tactics and try to master the way that the boss wants to play. So we go back to it and get ready for Huddersfield."
Loftus-Cheek had been rumoured with another loan away but with reports strongly linking Tiémoué Bakayoko with a loan to AC Milan, it looks likely that Sarri will keep the midfielder for the season.