Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has hit back at critics of Ruben Loftus-Cheek for his below-par display in the win over Brighton.
Sky Sports pundits and Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher were critical of Loftus-Cheek’s performance against the Seagulls.
That was harsh, according to Lampard, who pointed to the player’s injury woes.
Speaking at a press conference, Lampard said: “If there is harsh criticism of Ruben in the game against Brighton then it is certainly very harsh because coming back from an injury like that is difficult.
“He has put in a lot of hours into it and he is a hugely talented player, a great lad, and there will be lots more to come from Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
“Unfortunately the nature of this game is very reactionary and people will say it is as they see it, but knowing Ruben’s story behind the scenes he has fought back really hard to get where he is.”
Neville, a former international team-mate of Lampard’s, said Loftus-Cheek “was really disappointing”.
“I don’t think Loftus-Cheek can complain,” Neville added.
“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 £25m for him.”
Carragher said: “When he was at Crystal Palace you thought ‘what a player’.
“He’s got to say he wants to play every single week. If you get your chance you have to grab it. He’s had his chances now.”
“I know Ruben’s story probably second best to how he knows it,” Lampard explained.
“Ruben had a terrible injury – one that he worked hard to come back from over the course of last season.
“He was just about to play under-23s games when lockdown came in.
“He worked incredibly hard in restart and got a start against Aston Villa and was due to start against Bayern Munich in the last game of the season but had a bit of an issue on the day of the game.
“He has trained brilliantly again to get fit for the start of the season.”