Scott Parker believes Ruben Loftus-Cheek will have a big role to play for Fulham this season after the midfielder stalled for his new club in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Everton.
The Chelsea ace on loan shot home in the 70th minute at Craven Cottage, but the hosts were unable to find an equalizer.
Loftus-Cheek’s performance was a big plus for his manager to gain from the game, with the 24-year-old also able to win a penalty kick in his 32-minute cameo.
An injury to Achilles in May last year halted the England international’s development and he was used sparingly by Parker in November, but his boss hinted he was ready to release the graduate from the Chelsea academy.
“I thought he was brilliant,” Fulham manager said of Loftus-Cheek.
“We’ve worked really hard with Ruben in terms of the information I’m trying to give him and him as a player and how he can have a big impact this year.
“Sometimes I feel like Ruben has a tendency to miss games, but today that’s all we talked about with him.
“He came in, made the difference and looked like a top player. He grabbed the ball, was brave, scored a goal and was dynamic and if you put him between the lines, with confidence, he has that raw ability.
“It will be important for us this year. He needs to keep working and listening to what we tell him, but there is no doubt that he will continue to improve.
Loftus-Cheek will be hoping his goal can earn him a start at Leicester on Saturday, which marks the start of an intimidating series of matches for the newly promoted side.
Fulham have lost seven out of nine games in the Premier League and after a trip to King Power Stadium this weekend, face Manchester City and Liverpool in consecutive games in early December.
Parker added: “We can lose football games and I will be judged on that, I understand that, but I don’t think anyone is pointing fingers at us or tarnishing us by saying that the players will not play for me or this club. football or show it off.
“Every time they step on the pitch they will keep learning, they will make mistakes and the chasm is sometimes big with the quality of the players and the games to come, there is no doubt about that.
“But with effort and a work ethic to continue to improve as a team, we will be moving in the right direction.”
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti was delighted to see his side find their way back to victory after a streak of four games without a win.
The Italian described the spell as a “rough patch” but helped steer it away with a lineup change in London from his usual 4-3-3.
Ben Godfrey, Yerry Mina and Michael Keane were a backstroke trio, with Alex Iwobi used in the unorthodox right-back position.
Ancelotti warned, “I don’t think it’s a winning system because there is no winning system, but we tried to be more compact in the middle of the defense with three defenders.
“Either way, we have to work on this. I think this system has given us the ability to use the width of the pitch more and place crosses in and with (Dominic) Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison we can be dangerous.
Nigeria international Iwobi has been in and out of the squad since leaving Arsenal for Merseyside last summer, but Ancelotti was delighted with his performance out of position.
The 61-year-old added: “He has the quality to play there because he is physically strong and can go up and down.
“He has quality head-to-head, can do a lot of crosses and in the first half, he did very well. I am happy with his performance.