Ever since Chelsea lost players from the adored ‘old guard’ generation, there has always been talk of a lack of leadership on the pitch.

Since players like John Terry, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard have left, the Blues have really struggled to replace them with any real leaders on the pitch, and in the dressing room. This has certainly been an issue for various reasons.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has had a breakthrough season at the club, and has a feel of real importance amongst the fans, and the club itself. Even more important with Eden Hazard set to depart.

Being an academy player, Ruben certainly holds the historic roots needed to lead the team. He’s been at the club since the age of 8, and clearly adores Chelsea as much as we all do. He was a regular captain at youth level.

Some have expressed concerns that he might be too shy to be a leader. But I disagree, I believe that even if he doesn’t become a captain, he certainly has the potential to be one of the team’s core leaders within the squad in the coming years, alongside Reece James.

Ruben feels the same. ESPN asked him whether he feels he has the potential to be an influential leader such as the likes of John Terry, Ruben responded…

“Yeah definitely, but I think that comes with a lot of experience. I don’t think Chelsea can ever replace John [Terry]. He was the best leader I’ve seen, not just on the pitch but off it.

“He was always organising and sorting stuff out to make it easier for us. On the pitch he was very vocal and was that character you have at the back who would organise and make you feel safe.

“I’ve observed that and felt that feeling, and that’s something that comes with experience. The more experience I get, then hopefully I can be that person.”

I’ve always admired how he handles the media, he always talks with confidence and maturity, and certainly comes across as someone who’s grown into a good club man. He continues..

“We look up to the senior guys in the squad, observe them and see how they act and see how they lead — especially Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta,” he added. “They’re two of the most professional footballers I’ve seen.

“David [Luiz] as well. But I think it’s time for us. Me and Andreas are 23 now. It’s not so young and we have to step up when we get given the time to play, and start to become really important players for the team.”

It’s fantastic to hear this from a player who I believe will be pinnacle and the core of this club for many years to come. Is it time for the new guard to finally take the baton?

Simon Phillips