Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s hopes of impressing Chelsea boss Antonio Conte during the final matches of the Premier League season have been ruined by a back problem.
With the title having already been secured, Conte made a number of changes for Monday’s 4-3 win over Watford at Stamford Bridge.
There were starting places for youngsters Nathan Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah, while another academy product, Ola Aina, came on as a substitute.
West London Sport report that Conte has been unable to call upon Loftus-Cheek – and would have included the midfielder had he been fit.
“He is struggling with pain in his back,” Conte confirmed.
“It is a pity because for sure this would have been a good opportunity for him, because I think Ruben is a really good player.”
Several clubs have been linked with Loftus-Cheek, who has been tipped for a possible loan move next season.
West Ham are reported to be interested in the England Under-21 international, as are Stoke City.
And Conte said: “He is an important prospect for me. We have to take the best decision for him for next season – the best solution for him.
“But for the future Ruben has a good prospect to be a Chelsea player.”