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Thomas Tuchel has given a confidence boost to previously out of favour Ruben Loftus-Cheek, following his re-emergence in the Chelsea team.
The 25-year-old made his first Premier League start of the season in Saturday's 3-1 win over Southampton - a result that left the Blues top of the Premier League heading into the latest international break.
The German expressed his surprise at the midfielder's lack of game time in a Chelsea shirt during recent years. According to The Athletic, Tuchel told him: "You are special. I cannot believe you haven't played more for Chelsea," during pre-season.
The summer transfer deadline day arrival of Saul Niguez looked like ending Loftus-Cheek's time at Stamford Bridge, after what has been a stop-start journey with his boyhood club. Relegation marked the end of his loan spell with Fulham last season and it was hard to see a way back into Tuchel's plans, but he appears to have turned his fortunes around in west London.
In quotes published by The Metro, Tuchel spoke glowingly about his attributes during last season's loan spell at Fulham and compared him to an iconic former Die Mannschaft midfielder.
"He reminded me a little bit in his style of play and movement of Michael Ballack.
"There were some links about him moving to Germany - we were well aware of him. I don't know why things didn't work out but he's doing well on loan now and leaving him footprint.
"I love to work with players but I need a direct impression and we don't have that yet. I don't know what his ideas are or what the club are thinking. We haven't made a decision yet."
Loftus-Cheek and Chelsea are back in action after the international break against west London rivals Brentford on Saturday 16th October. He will also be targeting more minutes in the Champions League when Malmo visit Stamford Bridge four days later, after coming on in the second half against Juventus, which followed a quick runout against Zenit Saint Petersburg.
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