Ruben Loftus-Cheek had plenty of reasons to be cheerful on his return to Chelsea training this week.
The England midfielder admitted he missed the footballer’s familiar routine of group sessions and matches during two months stuck at home.
And being reacquainted with his friends and team-mates at the club’s Cobham HQ this week also marked the end of a painful year since rupturing his Achilles’ tendon in a post-season friendly last May.
Loftus-Cheek, 24, can now look forward to regaining his Three Lions place for next summer’s European Championships and a young Chelsea side contending for honours.
But first of all, getting back on the field with a ball at his feet represented a return to normality in strange times.
“I’ve been the same as everyone, it’s been difficult," said the Londoner.
“I’m living at home with my family so that makes it easier rather than being by yourself and I’ve just been trying to do as many different things as possible to stop the boredom.
“It’s been very unusual to not be playing football every day. Even as a kid, you’re playing four or five times a week and then obviously as a professional, it’s more or less every day.
"So to then just completely stop and have nothing, it changes up the routine and you don’t know what to do with yourself.
“It’s been an adaptable period where you have to try and find a new routine. At the start, I’ll admit my body clock was all over the place because I didn’t have a schedule.
"I didn’t feel right so I started getting up earlier and created a routine to keep me going.”
Chelsea players returned to group training on Tuesday although N’Golo Kante, whose brother died of a heart attack in 2018, has been given permission to stay away from training until further notice.
The Stamford Bridge club say there is no rush for the World Cup winner to return. Loftus-Cheek insisted he had no concerns about the first phase of the return to training, with the aim to get back to Premier League action next month.
“It’s good to see and talk to them at a safe distance, and then start the work for what could be restarting the season,” he told the official Chelsea website.
“This is the first stage of it and it needs to be safe but I feel like the routine they’ve shown us is safe so for us it’s good to go at the moment.
"We’ve been involved in the conversations and our opinions have been noted.
"What they’ve proposed to us with this first phase, everyone feels it’s safe to do and I think it’s very important to take it step by step with these things because of what’s going on in the world.
"You have to do things properly but we feel like this phase one has been done properly so everyone is looking forward to get going.”
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