Ruben Loftus-Cheek shone whilst making his full debut for the England national team last night, rightly picking up the Man of the Match award after dominating the German midfield.
Whilst Gareth Southgate drew derision from far and wide when his starting XI was first revealed early on Friday, the inexperienced Lions proved they were more than capable of stepping up to the plate against the world champions, coming away from the game with a credible 0-0 draw that could easily have been a win had the cards fallen slightly differently.
In goal, Everton’s Jordan Pickford was outstanding but Loftus-Cheek was the man who truly stood out in the hustle and bustle of midfield, showing poise, composure and vision whenever he got his foot on the ball. An extremely calm footballer, being paired with Jake Livermore in the middle only seemed to shine a light on Ruben’s superior technical abilities as the game went on, causing the likes of Glenn Hoddle and Ian Wright to wax lyrical about his potential constantly during the ITV broadcast.
Given his Man of the Match of the Match display, you can be 99% sure that countless journalists will now be screaming for Chelsea to use him in their own midfield, regardless of the fact that many wouldn’t have batted an eyelid about his potential, had he stayed at Stamford Bridge rather than getting regular game time on loan with us this season. Often, the press like to dissect what is placed directly in front of their eyes rather than daring to dig a little deeper; in Ruben’s case, I would imagine the next week or two will be rather hectic for that reason alone.
If Loftus-Cheek’s eye-catching play tells us anything, it’s that individual players should not be judged on the league position of their club. Yes, we are sitting at the bottom of the Premier League as things stand but the absence of a single fit striker since mid-September has a great deal more to do with that than the efforts of Loftus-Cheek, Townsend, Zaha and co. It’s a symptom of modern football fandom but I’m hopeful that the spirited display from the young Lions last night will bring about a change in the selection process for the national squad, casting aside any big club bias to select players on a case by case basis.
Yes, Ruben is still a Chelsea player but without the exposure his talents have received in SE25, the country wouldn’t be purring over his potential this morning. It’s time to cast the net a little wider.