Crystal Palace coach Ray Lewington has described former loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek as 'world class' amid rumours linking the young Chelsea midfielder with a return to Selhurst Park in January.
The Englishman spent the entirety of the 2017/18 season on loan at Palace where his eye-catching performances from midfield were enough to convince Gareth Southgate give him a spot on the plane to Russia for the summer's World Cup.
Since returning to Chelsea however, Loftus-Cheek has found playing time to be limited. However, when he has played his impact has been significant. The midfielder scored a hat-trick in the Europa League last month.
Speaking at a Palace fans meeting as quoted by football.london, Lewington reflected on Loftus Cheek's time at Selhurst Park.
He said: "There are some good players at this club, and unfortunately we lost an absolute superstar in Ruben Loftus-Cheek. He is one of the best players I have ever worked with.
"I didn't know how good he was until I got here, and I didn't really know how good he was after the first four or five games. But after that, it started to click with him, once he was told what his job was and he just started to grow, and he got stronger and quicker. By the end of it, he was a world class player by the time he finished with us."