“Something that is at once frightening, yet strangely familiar,” was how Sigmund Freud defined the psychological experience of “the uncanny” in his 1919 essay, Das Unheimliche. What Freud ’s pioneering criticism omitted, however, was that the uncanniest uncanniness was to occur 99 years later in Kaliningrad Stadium. In Russia. In the Fifa World Cup. In a Group G dead rubber. For what was the moment if not the ultimate epitome of uncanny when, in the second-half of England’s limp defeat to Belgium, Ruben Loftus-Cheek inherited possession past the halfway-line, surged forward into the final third, and — in Mousa Dembélé-like fashion — danced and evaded opposing players with Fred Flintstone twinkle toes and strength of shimmy, only to be cynically fouled by — whadyaknow! — Mousa Dembélé himself. If there was ever a time to use the “Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man” meme, this was it. Mousa had just been Mousa’d. The sight was jarring; an incongruous phenomenon had played out right before our eyes. And at the same time: had we witnessed the passing of the baton; the young, Arthurian candidate pulling sword from stone? For the fantasists among us, Ruben Loftus-Cheek had just overthrown the king of close control, proving himself the heir apparent to the (soon-to-be departing) Mousa Dembélé. Calm yourself, I hear you say: one nimble act of silky skill does not make a Dembélé. Yet those who have followed Loftus-Cheek’s career closely would wager him being the ideal successor to the Belgian at Spurs, period. When profiling the player in 2014, The Guardian’s Barney Ronay earmarked the “intriguing” Loftus-Cheek’s “long-striding grace [with] shielding, covering, deep-playmaking presence with a calmness in possession and a naturally telescopic reach”. While, more recently, the story of Michael Ballack “gawping in amazement” at Loftus-Cheek’s ability during a Chelsea youth team match has been doing the rounds. Now having finally been given the opportunity to fulfil his promise, this summer will be the most important yet in the 22-year-old’s career — and that’s ignoring the small matter of the World Cup. A regular for Gareth Southgate’s Youngsters but on the periphery of [insert Chelsea’s next ephemeral managerial appointment here]'s Pensioners, it’s been reported the midfielder is to be sent out on loan again next season. It’s got the player considering his long-term future at Stamford Bridge. “We’ll see what happens [in the transfer window],” said Loftus-Cheek, when asked about his club career. “I’m confident in my ability and that I can do well, wherever it is. But I’m not thinking about whether I’m going to play at Chelsea right now. I’m only focused on the [World Cup].” Supporters of a more cynical nature will attest that a deal to Spurs will never happen; with relations between the two clubs so sour — due to the Luka Modrić transfer fiasco of 2011 — that the fixture at Chelsea away is the only Premier League game the Tottenham hierarchy make a point of not attending. (Ouch.) Never underestimate player power though, and the player’s interest in a move north of London is said to exist. Speaking in November 2017, Loftus-Cheek’s father, Trevor, slammed his son's lack of first team opportunities at Chelsea in an newspaper interview, adding the parting shot: “If Ruben was playing for Mauricio Pochettino, he’d have 70, 80, 90 first-team appearances by now.” After all, parents do know best.