England’s.. well, unorthodox, squad announcement for the upcoming World Cup has brought forth excellent news in the involvement of two Chelsea players, Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
As recently as two months ago, the chances of either player making to Russia seemed bleak. Cahill was in and out of the Chelsea XI and omitted from the squad during the previous international break, while Loftus-Cheek had just about returned from an ankle injury that had kept him out for four months. They’ve risen to their challenges with aplomb, though, with Cahill breaking back into the Chelsea defence and Ruben returning as if he hadn’t missed a beat, playing a leading role in Crystal Palace’s Premier League survival.
Here’s the full squad.
Goalkeepers: Nick Pope, Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Danny Rose, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Ashley Young, Kyle Walker, Keiran Trippier
Midfielders: Jordan Henderson, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Eric Dier, Fabian Delph, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard
Forwards: Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Danny Welbeck, Marcus Rashford
Loftus-Cheek deserves massive credit for turning his injury-marred, initially frustrating season around in this manner. It’s been somewhat of a recurring theme with the 21-year-old, who spent two arguably wasted years on the fringes of the first-team squad and when he finally went on loan, fell prey to an unenviable recurring injury. He’s been so close, yet so far to fulfilling the promise shown in Chelsea’s youth ranks and for England’s junior sides. The fact that he will represent his nation at the World Cup this summer is commendable in itself. Moreover, looking at the rest of the England midfield, Ruben actually seems to be one of the few central midfielders with a creative spark and there’s reason to believe that he isn’t just going to make up the numbers.
As for Cahill, who will be among the most experienced heads in a fairly young squad, he might not be among the first-choice defence but is certainly a solid option to have on the bench and in the dressing room.
Good luck to them both, hopefully they’ll do their nation proud and return for pre-season without picking up any serious injuries.