Ian Wright reserved special praise for Ruben Loftus-Cheek after the midfielder came off the bench to help to fire Chelsea FC to a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
Loftus-Cheek was brought on in the 26th minute to replace the injured Mateo Kovacic in north London and the 26-year-old helped the Blues to claim their spot in the final by netting the first goal for the south west Londoners.
After a goalless first half, Loftus-Cheek drilled home a fine effort in the 65th minute to put Thomas Tuchel’s men in front.
The in-form Mason Mount then made the victory secure when he slotted home an accurate finish to make it three goals in three games for him for the Blues.
Loftus-Cheek has found his first-team opportunities at Stamford Bridge to be limited this season, with the midfielder having only started nine times in the Premier League this term.
However, Arsenal and England legend Wright was impressed by what he saw from the midfielder at Wembley on Sunday afternoon and feels he could be due a regular run in the team after his performance.
Speaking on ITV Sport after the final whistle, Wright said of Loftus-Cheek: “If he can get a run in the team… you’ve got World Cup winners, a lot of experience and winners in there [at Chelsea FC].
‘He came through the academy and he’s still there, still trying to make his way at Chelsea. He’s come on today and he changed the game for Chelsea. That’s what he’s capable of doing. Saying that, Palace had some chances.’
Loftus-Cheek himself, who has made three assists in all competitions this season, admitted that it has been a “tough road” for him with his recent injury struggles.
Way overdue [the goal]!” Loftus-Cheek told ITV Sport. “It has been a tough road with injuries and going on loan to find my form again but I always believed in myself and I always wanted to play for Chelsea. I have played quite a lot this season, I am happy.
“I was just thinking hit it, I think it took a little deflection but I’ll take it! I had to be ready to step in. It looked a bit slow in the first half so I just wanted to bring some energy.
“The reason I am still here is my mentality through all the injuries. I still believed in myself and I said for many years my time will come.
“We want to get them back, simple as that. It was a fantastic game in the League Cup final and could have gone either way.”
Chelsea FC will take on Liverpool FC – who beat Manchester City on Saturday – in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday 14 May.