London Football News

Conte refuses to discuss possibility of Loftus-Cheek recall

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Antonio Conte has refused to discuss whether Chelsea might recall Ruben Loftus-Cheek from his loan spell at Crystal Palace in January.

The England midfielder has impressed since joining the Eagles on a season-long loan and there has been speculation that Chelsea could take up an option to recall him.

Blues boss Conte opted to take Nathan Ake back to Stamford Bridge last January while the player was on a season-long loan at Bournemouth.

Asked at a press conference on Tuesday whether Loftus-Cheek could be recalled, Conte said: “This is not the right moment to speak about this, during a press conference. It’s important always to have respect for the other team.

“Ruben is another young player with a good prospect, the right prospect to become Chelsea’s player and to play regularly. But I think that now is not the right moment to talk about this topic.”

Meanwhile, Conte defended Tiémoué Bakayoko following criticism of the midfielder’s performances since his arrival from Monaco during the summer.

Conte said: “Don’t forget that Bakayoko is a player who is very young and for many reasons he has played a lot games.

“I think he needs to improve in the tactical aspect with us and to go into our idea of football, but at the same time I think for a young player to play with us regularly is not simple.

“He is playing well and it’s normal to alternate good performances with less good.

“He’s a young player working very well and I’m very happy with his commitment and his behaviour. He has a lot of space for improvement.”