Former Arsenal and England striker Paul Mariner believes that Chelsea star Ruben Loftus-Cheek would benefit hugely from a return to Crystal Palace, where the 22-year-old starred on loan last season.
While speaking to ESPN (via the Express), Mariner stated that he feels it will be difficult for the England international to break into Maurizio Sarri's first team plans this season, and a move away from Stamford Bridge would be huge for his promising career.
Mariner said: “I think it’s the best for him [to leave on loan].
“You look at the way [Maurizio] Sarri’s setting up, he wants to play the high press, he wants to press with five.
Mariner also feels that Loftus-Cheek would be better off under Eagles boss Roy Hodgson, who he thinks understands the Chelsea academy graduate well and can unlock his star potential.
He added: “Who’s he going to oust? Pedro? [Eden] Hazard? [N'Golo] Kante? Maybe [Ross] Barkley, but other players can come in and fill that void for Barkley if he’s not selected.
“I think this would be fantastic if he goes back to Palace. I’d like to see him go back to Roy Hodgson. They have an affinity with each other, ex-England manager.
“Roy has gone on the record saying ‘look, this guy’s a really top player, he loves playing for Palace, blah, blah, blah’. So, it’s just down the road, it’s not too inconvenient for him.
With Sarri so clear at the weekend that he's struggling to make space for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, why wouldn't the lad look for loan move? Sorry to say a familiar pattern emerging here. A talented and able player, but one for whom successive Chelsea bosses have failed to find a role.— Dan Levene (@danlevene) August 21, 2018
“For his development, I’m going to say yes [he needs to go on loan].”
Loftus-Cheek managed to get into Gareth Southgate's England squad after impressing in his 24 appearances with Palace last season, scoring two goals.
For the youngster to add to his eight England caps, however, he may need to give up his Blues dream and take the plunge elsewhere, especially after Sarri omitted him from his matchday squad entirely last weekend.