Ruben Loftus-Cheek tipped for Chelsea exit after Brighton showing

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is destined to leave Chelsea after an underwhelming display in the club's Premier League opener at Brighton, according to pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.

Though the Blues emerged 3-1 winners at the Amex, midfielder Loftus-Cheek struggled to make an impression despite being handed a start in the No10 role by boss Frank Lampard.

The 24-year-old was sidelined with an Achilles injury for the majority of last season and made just nine appearances in all competitions.

And after failing to capitalise on the chance presented to him by Lampard, Neville and Carragher believe Loftus-Cheek may be ushered to the Stamford Bridge exit.

"I thought, Loftus-Cheek, he's been given his chance," Neville told Sky Sports . "I thought he was really disappointing. I don't think Loftus-Cheek can complain. He's been given games.

"I don't think he's ever grasped his chance yet. There's going to come a point when they're going to cash in and get £25million for him."

Midfielder Jorginho and defensive duo Reece James and Kurt Zouma grabbed Chelsea's goals in the Monday night fixture, while new signing Timo Werner made an instant impression by winning a penalty.

But Loftus-Cheek – who was tipped for stardom after an eye-catching loan spell with Crystal Palace three seasons ago – was hauled off just after the hour mark.

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And Carragher echoed Neville's comments on the England midfielder, adding: 'When he was at Crystal Palace you thought 'what a player'.

"He's got to say he wants to play every single week. He's not grabbed his chance tonight. If you get your chance you have to grab it. He's had his chances now."

Meanwhile, Lampard defended Loftus-Cheek's performance after the match, insisting he requires more time to return to full match sharpness.

"With Ruben obviously he’s been out for a long time, even his return to play was pretty broken by lockdown and the restart when he was just about to play some games," Lampard said. "We certainly have to give Ruben a bit of time on those fronts.

"But it’s a position Ruben can play for us. Yeah, we’ve got injuries in forward areas in terms of [Hakim] Ziyech is out, [Christian] Pulisic is out as well, there are players who will come back who will give me lots of options.

"It was interesting for me to see Ruben in that No.10 position today. He can certainly give us lots in those areas."

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