Following Crystal Palace’s 1-0 defeat to Tottenham last Sunday we now have a two-week international break but for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, a first senior England call-up has brought a whole new set of expectations.
Always looked upon as a talented player when floating around the Chelsea first-team, it was becoming obvious that Ruben would need to move elsewhere if he was intent on securing regular first-team football and in Crystal Palace, he found a willing recipient of his talents.
Whilst the still young midfielder is yet to taste Premier League victory in red and blue, (the team’s only win this season came against his parent side Chelsea with him watching on from the stands) he is looking upon the chance to come and play regularly at Selhurst Park as a true blessing, which comes as little surprise given the England call-up he’s now received.
Although I personally feel nothing but happiness for Loftus-Cheek over Gareth Southgate’s decision to bring him in, plenty of Palace fans are suggesting that he wouldn’t have been given the same chance had he been a player who was permanently rather than temporarily on our books. To some outside of the Palace bubble that may seem far-fetched but we need only look at England’s treatment of Wilfried Zaha in recent years to realise that prejudices still exist within the national set-up.
We could easily discuss the apparent apathy towards our corner of south London in far greater depth but in reality, there’s little point getting too worked up about it. I don’t think I’m speaking in isolation when I say that Ruben has impressed plenty of Palace fans since first arriving from Chelsea and although it feels a long way off right now, I certainly wouldn’t be against the club looking to secure his services permanently in the summer, were we to claw ourselves away from the relegation zone.
Neutrals may suggest that the man himself could do better but he’s gained an England call-up whilst playing for a side marooned at the foot of the table, leading to the assumption that league position and status is no longer important to Southgate. As an experiment in “big club bias” it would certainly make for an interesting case study but for now, let’s just hope he does himself justice if given chances to impress against Germany and Brazil.