Why Ruben Loftus-Cheek deserves his England call-up
The midfielder has displayed his talent at Crystal Palace
There were a few notable omissions from Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad, but the national team boss did give Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tammy Abraham and Joe Gomez their first senior call-ups.
Loftus-Cheek’s inclusion may have surprised some, as the Chelsea midfielder is on loan at bottom-of-the-table Crystal Palace. But his individual displays merit a closer look from Southgate ahead of the friendlies against Germany and Spain.
Here are three reasons why the 21-year-old deserves his chance…
What do Eden Hazard, Alexis Sanchez and Leroy Sane have in common this season? All of them have completed fewer take ons in the Premier League than Loftus-Cheek (22). In fact, his Palace teammate Andros Townsend (36) is the only player to have completed more this term.
Being able to beat a man alone isn’t enough to excel at international level. But the fact Loftus-Cheek is achieving those numbers in crowded central areas is very impressive. Even more so is that he’s doing it in a side that rarely controls possession.
Suits the style
His quality on the ball suggests he’d be a good fit in a side that seeks to control games with possession.
Southgate has said he wants his England team to use the ball better and he’s picking players who fit that approach.
Jake Livermore is one of the midfielders who’ve been dropped from the squad. Livermore is a fairly solid, reliable player. But Loftus-Cheek’s superior technique and imagination in possession make him a better option.
He can make the step up
Southgate already knows Loftus-Cheek from his time in charge of the England Under-21s. He’ll believe the Lewisham-born midfielder is ready for the pressure that playing for the Three Lions can bring.
He wasn’t given a real chance to show he can perform in the top flight at Chelsea. Despite Palace’s struggles, he looks comfortable playing in the Premier League.
Being around superior players with England could allow him to raise his game even further.
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