Ruben Loftus-Cheek has admitted that he was scared of the repercussions his recent ankle injury would have on his chances of making it into England’s World Cup squad, with his return to full fitness set to see him doing all he can to force Gareth Southgate’s hand and give him a place on the plane to Russia.
Whilst the 21-year-old’s long-term future is still open for debate, the immediate goals ahead of him couldn’t be any clearer. With Palace currently sitting just outside the bottom three heading into their final seven games, he and his teammates will be doing all they can to ensure that the club retain their place in the Premier League; a task which, if navigated successfully, should lead to positive news for Ruben on the international front.
When he first arrived in SE25, no one was quite sure how a player who had been on Chelsea’s books solidly since joining their academy back in 2004 would adapt to life away from Cobham but in truth, it’s been almost impossible to fault the midfielder’s work-rate, attitude or performances from the moment he first pulled on a red and blue shirt.
In an ideal world, we’ll see Loftus-Cheek back to his best during the final weeks of the campaign, guiding us to safety before jetting off to impress with the Three Lions out in Russia but whatever occurs between now and May, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Chelsea youngster has a big future ahead of him in the game.
If he can manage to play through a full season without picking up a serious injury, those watching on are likely to see a player who has all the tools to make it to the top of the game in rather rapid fashion. I dare say I’m being a little over-ambitious here but I’d love us to make a bid to sign him on a permanent basis over the summer if all parties can agree on a deal.
Of course, the price would need to be right from our end, as would the medical assessments our staff have done on him but make no mistake, when he’s fit and firing on all cylinders, Ruben’s one hell of a talent.