Eden Hazard makes big Ruben Loftus-Cheek claim

Eden Hazard has talked up Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s ability and declared him ready for regular first-team opportunities at Chelsea.

The England midfielder enjoyed a successful loan stint at Crystal Palace last season, making 24 appearances in the Premier League and winning a spot in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.

Maurizio Sarri is now weighing up whether to grant the 22-year-old an extended chance to impress at Stamford Bridge.

Hazard, who went head-to-head with Loftus-Cheek in the third-place play-off in Russia, is clear on where his team-mate should spend the upcoming campaign.

“Ruben is a fantastic player,” the Belgium star told the London Evening Standard. “He is still young, of course, but I think if we can have him in the team this season it’s a plus for everyone.

“I know his quality. He is young, he is powerful. The future will be top for him.”

Loftus-Cheek made his Premier League debut for Chelsea in January 2015 and has appeared in 22 top-flight matches for the London club.

He featured briefly off the bench in last week’s International Champions Cup encounter against Arsenal.

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