Frank Lampard: Ruben Loftus-Cheek is no closer to being fit

Chelsea still have no time frame for Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s return from his long-term heel injury.

The 23-year-old has not played since suffering the injury in a post-season friendly in Boston in May and Blues boss Frank Lampard conceded he still does not know when the England midfielder will be back in action.

“He’s had a few setbacks over the last two months,” said Lampard.

Frank Lampard is unsure when his midfielder will be fit again
Frank Lampard is unsure when his midfielder will be fit again (John Walton/PA)

“He hasn’t had a new one, but he’s not flying along as much as we would want, and it’s not for the want of trying from everybody.

“For Ruben himself of course there’s nothing worse than being injured. But at the moment he’s no closer to being fit.”

One player who is fit again is England striker Tammy Abraham, who headed his 11th Premier League goal of the season then laid on Mason Mount’s winner as Chelsea saw off Aston Villa 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Abraham hit 26 goals in 40 matches on loan at Villa last term, and even had the travelling fans singing his name at the final whistle in west London.

Back from injury, and straight back on the scoresheet – well played, @tammyabraham! 👏

What an assist from @reecejames_24 too! 🎯 #CHEAVLpic.twitter.com/l11olgjTfv

— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 4, 2019

The 22-year-old – who sat out the defeat to West Ham at the weekend with injury – boasts a direct hand in a goal in all his 14 league games this term, with his manager suitably impressed.

“He’s a personality that’s growing in our dressing room every day with his enthusiasm and his will to win,” said Lampard.

“Tammy is a striker that’s near the top of the goalscoring charts in the league, he’s showing his all-round game, stretches defences, and he starts our press.

“And of course if a player’s on such a good run it’s normal that if they go out of the team that you can miss them, and today he came straight back in as he left off.”

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith warned that club captain Jack Grealish will suffer a serious injury unless the standard of Premier League refereeing improves.

Jack Grealish has been a closely-marked man in the Premier League
Jack Grealish has been a closely-marked man in the Premier League (Adam Davy/PA)

Asked if he fears Grealish, the league’s most fouled player, suffering a significant injury, Smith replied: “If he doesn’t get protection, then yeah, you worry for him.

“You can’t have tag teams having a free whack at him all the time. The referees and the officials have to sort that out.

“The refereeing in the Premier League so far has disappointed me.

“I had expected to see a lot better. There’s been a tag team fouling Jack Grealish at times.”

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