Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the man of the moment, and with good reason. The Chelsea academy graduate and loanee has been doing good work all season at Crystal Palace, but Palace are a terrible team and that does take some of the shine off of it. No such worries about last nigh’s performance however, as Loftus-Cheek’s debut for England went about as well as we could’ve reasonably expected and the only thing it was missing was a goal for him or the Three Lions in the 0-0 draw with Germany.
After the match, England manager Gareth Southgate agreed with that assessment as well.
"He did everything I know he can do. He has the physical attributes and can handle the ball. He will gain huge confidence from his display."
Southgate coached Loftus-Cheek in the U21s as well, so he was already familiar with the youngster’s potential and quality. One performance does not a career make of course, but the 21-year-old is off to an excellent start in his senior international career.
"It took him 10 minutes to realise he's OK here. He is capable of anything. I wanted to pick him for the games last month [against Slovenia and Lithuania]. I see things in him that lead me to believe he can play at this level. He's an exciting player and he's one who might have gone under the radar a bit for the wider public until now."
-Gareth Southgate; source: BBC
The “wider public”, or at least those who decided to spend their Friday night watching an England international friendly — maybe not so wide then — should certainly be aware now, so that when the World Cup call comes in the summer, they shouldn’t be surprised.
"To go to the World Cup - it's a long season and I still have to improve. I have to keep learning and getting better and hopefully there's a chance to get on the plane."
-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: BBC
RLC added that he would’ve been ever happier had the team won, but as the consensus Man of the Match, he will have an excellent platform from which to build for future successes with the national team ... and hopefully Chelsea as well!
Deployed as the furthest forward midfield in a 3-5-2, Loftus-Cheek looked more at home and more influential than at one of the other positions we’ve tried to shoehorn him into during his cameos of the past few years. Is he taking, both in this game and with the Palace loan, that crucial step we’ve been waiting for him to take ever since “Academy Day” three years ago?
He just might be!
And because the game took place at Wembley, there’s also a tunnel cam to enjoy.