Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been the name on everybody’s lips this last week and rightly so. The naturally gifted youngster took his England debut by the scruff of the neck and absolutey bossed his opportunity on a debut he will never forget.
Although I agree that there has been excessive hype about the midfielder since the match, but I also hate it when I see people saying that we should not be hyping a player up in these circumstances.
Loftus-Cheek played a man of the match performance and it did not surprise me one bit. If anything, we should be hyping these young players up, it’s the fact that he wasn’t hyped up as much in recent years, that’s took him so long to finally get this recognition. Nobody is claiming the 21-year old to be the next Zinedine Zidane at this stage, but he fully deserves all the plaudits he got this week. Not just because he played well, but because he’s been showing this talent for many years now, he is certainly no one game wonder.
If his previous Mangers had trusted him, hyped him up, and gave him the credit he deserved instead of misjudging his style of play for laziness, he’d be at the same level as Deli Alli right now, in my opinion.
In the UK in particular, we have a habit of over hyping young players, putting too much pressure on them and they then inevitably fade out. I do agree we need to be cautious there and people’s desperation to blood in new talent can have a negative affect, I agree with that.
However, also in this country at youth level we are guilty of not allowing our players to develop their own style and express themselves. We attempt to keep them grounded by encouraging them to be a certain type of player, and coaching them to be something, that maybe does not sit to their strengths.
For example, the most creative, expressive flair player I’ve witnessed play for England is Paul Gascoigne. But can you imagine a character like that in Loftus-Cheek’s position right now? He would have been discouraged to play his game, beat players and to express himself. The reason he succeeded other than his natural ability, was that his coaches and managers trusted him and let him do what he wanted to do on the pitch, they didn’t try and take away traits of his game that perhaps did see him get caught out or in trouble at times, they just allowed him to express himself. They didn’t concerntrate on weaknesses, they focused on the good he was doing and the talent he had. Any weaknesses would iron themselves out after solid game time.
They certainly wouldn’t have dreamed of telling people to calm down and not overly praise him for what he was doing. And his confidence would have fed off of that.
I realise at big clubs like Chelsea, instant success is demanded, hence why recent Managers have been reluctant to put trust in the youth. However, when you have a talent like Loftus-Cheek, more risks can be made in my opinion and should be made. This season being out on loan is helping his development immensely I agree with that, but regular game time at Chelsea a couple years a go would’ve seen him as an England and Chelsea regular already.
In summary, yes we should be wary to over hype some of these players, but we should also praise, get excited and encourage such talents to go out and express themselves. Put your trust in them, let them know that they are rated, then you watch them play ten times better off the back of simply playing with confidence and belief.
Simon Phillips – @SiPhillipsCFC