Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink says Ruben Loftus-Cheek can be of “big value” after scoring his first goal for the club against Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup third round.
The 19-year-old came off the bench to replace Oscar at half-time on Sunday and scored with a confident left-footed finish to seal a 2-0 victory for the Blues against their League One opponents at Stamford Bridge.
Hiddink has been impressed by what he has seen from Loftus-Cheek since taking over from the sacked Jose Mourinho last month.
“It is nice,” Hiddink said when asked by BT Sport for his reaction to Loftus-Cheek’s first goal.
“He can be of big value now. He is 19 – I thought he was 22 or 23 when I came in. He has the physique of a grown player already, but he is 19.
“We have to be careful on one hand but on the other we are in a difficult situation to get fourth place in the Premier League, so then I say ‘OK, let’s give them a try’ and it will probably happen more.
“It was a very clean finish. He waits and then he comes in at the right moment. When there is talent in people then we do not have to teach so much.”
Hiddink said he will not hold back from deploying other promising youngsters between now and the end of the season.
“We have these youngsters and I know them now after three or four weeks and I know their abilities,” added the 69-year-old.
“When it is an option, I don’t hesitate to bring them in. It is good to see young players knocking on the door.
“It is not always easy for them. People think when they are not playing that they are very, very good but they have to get confronted with the reality of the Premier League which is tough – but it is good for them.”