Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is toying with the idea of using Ruben Loftus-Cheek as a forward when he returns from injury, with the England international hoping to be back in training in six weeks.
The 23-year-old was expected to miss much of the campaign after rupturing his Achilles in Chelsea’s friendly game against the New England Revolution in May, shortly before the Europa League final.
But Ruben Loftus-Cheek confirmed to Sky Sports that he hopes to return to first-team training in ‘4-6 weeks’ and Lampard is already thinking about the best way to utilise him.
According to The Sun, that could see the midfielder asked to lead the line, with the manager giving serious consideration to deploying him up front.
One of his predecessors, Antonio Conte, also tried it, while the struggles of Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham in front of goal so far this campaign have given Lampard cause to look at other options.
Loftus-Cheek is expected to return to full fitness in November and could be up to speed for the busy festive fixture period, while Lampard will also be happy with the return of Hudson-Odoi.
The teenage winger, who is looking increasingly likely to sign a new contract, returned to training this week having also injured his Achilles tendon in the Europa League semi-final match against Frankfurt.
Lampard is a big fan of Loftus-Cheek and spoke about him while working as a pundit for the BBC at the last summer’s World Cup: ‘Ruben is someone I know really well from when he was coming through the youth ranks at Chelsea.
‘Straight away he made an impression because of his physical attributes, but he knew how to play too – he had great ability and even then he could drift past people on the ball.
‘He does that even better now, with his pace and power when he is running at you, which makes him different from a lot of modern-day midfield players – and puts a fear into the opposition that they do not usually have.’