Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has lavished praise on midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek following the Blues' 1-0 win over West Ham United on Wednesday.
The English youngster was on the bench for the Blues' clash at Upton Park but failed to make an appearance. However, the Portuguese manager was quick to laud the midfielder and believes that he will be a big surprise in the Premier League next season.
The Chelsea manager has inducted few youngsters from the academy into the senior squad during the course of the season with Kurt Zouma and Isiah Brown joining the first-team alongside Loftus-Cheek.
The former has firmly established himself amongst the senior squad members and the manager has put a lot of faith in Zouma handing him starts in crucial games against Manchester City in the Premier League and the Capital One cup semi-final against Liverpool.
But it is the 19-year-old midfielder, who caught the attention of Mourinho and the Portuguese manager has admitted that, had Chelsea not being playing for the title under immense pressure, Loftus-Cheek would have already been a member of the starting XI at Stamford Bridge.
"I had Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the bench and I have to say that, in my opinion, next year, this kid will be a big surprise in the Premier League," Mourinho said, as quoted by talkSPORT.
"This season, if I was not playing for the title and we were not playing with the pressure we have, this kid would already be on the pitch," the former Real Madrid manager added.
But the manager believes the youngster will get his chance similar to that of Zouma, who has been called into the starting XI from time to time to either provide support to the two central defenders or to provide cover during their absence.
"But it's step-by-step and today was again a day for [Kurt] Zouma to help John [Terry] and [Gary] Cahill in a game when [Diafra] Sakho and [Enner] Valencia are very difficult opponents," Mourinho concluded.