Crystal Palace midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek believes he can make a late entry into England’s World Cup squad despite being injured for most of the second-half of the season. The 22-year-old bagged the man of the match during his Three Lions debut against Germany in November, and this earned him praise from manager Gareth Southgate.
However, things have since not been rosy for the midfielder, who sustained an ankle injury in the month of December. The Chelsea loanee only returned as a substitute during Palace’s recent 2-0 league win over Huddersfield Town, but he remains hopeful of proving his fitness to Southgate before the end of the season.
He told Sky Sports News: “In my head, it’s just a case of playing as many games as I can. I think there are seven games left [in the Premier League season] and if I can get as much game time as possible, who knows what can happen.For me it’s just a case of getting my head down, work hard and playing my best football. It is still tight down at the bottom but we believe in ourselves to keep winning.”
Loftus-Cheek produced an assured performance in the goalless draw against Germany, where he nearly found the scoresheet, and his return is unlikely to go unnoticed by Southgate. The Three Lions boss had publicly suggested that the midfielder’s development was hampered by the senior players at Chelsea, and he was pleased with the youngster’s decision to pursue gametime elsewhere.
With just a few months left to the World Cup, Southgate has brought several new faces into the fray, and the 47-year-old now has to make a couple of shrewd decisions depending on the performances in the upcoming friendlies. The likes of Danny Welbeck and Joe Hart are visible gambles in the Three Lions squad, and they need to prove their worth in the games against the Netherlands and Italy.