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Loftus-Cheek delighted and focused amid growing whispers of World Cup call-up

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Crystal Palace v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Ruben Loftus-Cheek suffered a rather disappointing setback towards the end of last year, with a recurring ankle injury that flared up and at one point, threatened to have him out for the remainder of the season. Luckily, Chelsea’s medical staff ensured that the talented midfield prospect would play again this season and he’s now started four consecutive games since returning to full fitness, whilst rapidly improving by the game.

Ruben turned in one of his best performances in a Crystal Palace shirt yesterday and also grabbed the third goal in a 5-1 demolition of Leicester City, with England manager Gareth Southgate looking on from the stands.

Ruben was in for some high praise from his teammate, James McArthur, who was the scorer of the second goal.

“He has been brilliant for such a young player to come in and play a big part of the team is a credit to him and you can see why he is at Chelsea.

“He has a big future ahead of him.”

-James McArthur; source: football.london

Loftus-Cheek did make his England debut before the injury struck, and all the indications from Southgate were that the youngster was being transitioned from the England youth set-up to the senior one, as was being done at the club level. Southgate is well-acquainted with his capabilities and strengths, having worked with him as the England Under-21s manager and has been widely rumored to want to take Ruben to the World Cup, despite the injury set-back keeping him out for close to four whole months. While that may or may not be true, Ruben did the best he could to stake a claim for a place on the plane to Russia with his performance yesterday.

The man himself, speaking after the game, expressed his joy at being able to play regularly again after such a frustrating period on the sidelines and also at Palace picking up form, making their abysmal start to the season seem well far away.

“I am just concentrating on performing, trying to get better and focusing on trying to win and get the three points in the next two games for Palace, and see what happens.

“The start of the season was difficult, not winning in seven games and was hard to take, especially coming in for my first Premier League season, but we managed to turn it around and it’s a good learning curve for me to know what it takes to roll up your sleeves, work hard and get some wins.

“I am delighted we have pulled ourselves back and we still have two more games to finish it off.

“I have had a few injuries and the last one was difficult to take because I was out for longer than I expected, but it’s good to be back and playing in front of the Selhurst fans and getting on the scoresheet is brilliant.”

-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: football.london

No doubt, Southgate was impressed by what he saw from Loftus-Cheek at Selhurst Park yesterday. Let’s hope the youngster can finish the season strongly with performances of a similar level in Palace’s remaining two league games.