THE last time Ruben Loftus-Cheek was on loan, it kicked off his career in England.
Now the 24-year-old is hoping another temporary stint away from Stamford Bridge can revive him.
Loftus-plays got a transformative loan at Crystal Palace three years ago that set him up for Chelsea first team.
But he was held up by an Achilles injury that kept him away for 13 months, suffered in a Blues charity match in April of last year.
This led to him being exploited again, this time to rivals Fulham, where he hopes playing regularly will both prove his fitness and put him back on the path he was on after leaving Palace.
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Speaking before the Eagles were greeted by the Cottagers, RLC said: “I really got a lot out of this loan from Palace.
“I had a lot of experience in the Premier League, and that obviously kicked off my international career.
“I hope Fulham can do the same, after being away for so long with an injury, find the same feeling for the game. That’s why I came here.
“These games were crucial for me. If I don’t go to the Palace, I’m not part of the England team.
Loftus-Cheek was originally signed by Frank de Boer, who was knocked out after just four games and replaced by Roy Hodgson.
The outspoken approach of the former England boss was just what a raw Loftus-Cheek needed, who had only made six Prem starts before arriving at Selhurst Park.
He added: “He’s a fantastic coach. I really enjoyed playing with Roy.
“As a manager he tells it like it is and I needed it at the time. I learned a lot.
“Palace is fantastic defensively in this form, difficult to break and deadly on the counterattack. So we know what’s coming.
Fulham boss Scott Parker said last week that he still expects Loftus-Cheek to have a long-term future at Chelsea because he knew how much Frank Lampard thought of him.
Lampard actually started the midfielder in the season opener at Brighton, despite over £ 150million on new attacking signings in the summer transfer window.
But RLC knew his chances were going to be limited this year with all the newcomers and his injury issues.
Interestingly, he was the one who went to Lampard to discuss his exit on another loan.
The midfielder explained: “We had an honest conversation. It was I who initiated it. I felt that it was essential to play a lot of football this season.
“With the strength at depth at Chelsea and how I felt, I wasn’t sure I’d be out for so long as when I had the opportunity to play fantastically and hold onto a place in the starting XI .
“I was not 100% able to do it because I need to regain my confidence.
“It was basically the cat theme. The gaffer agreed to that and things continued from there.
Parker himself was a young Chelsea midfielder who realized he wasn’t going to cut him there and left for Newcastle for good in 2005 after only a year at Stamford Bridge.
But he doesn’t see his new loan signing in the same situation – and Loftus-Cheek agrees.
The Lewisham boy said: “I still see my future at Chelsea.
“I believe in my abilities 100 percent. This is obviously not a permanent move.
“It’s a platform for me to go out and express myself and find that shape that was showing a few seasons ago.
“I believe in my abilities, and we’ll see where it takes me.”
Up to Euros at the end of the season, maybe?
Loftus-Cheek, whose last of their ten caps came in November 2018, replied, “There’s definitely a target out there, and it’s definitely on my mind.
“But in the foreground is Fulham. I think if I play well with Fulham there is a chance, and that will be a consequence of what I do here.