In a few hours, England will take on Panama at the 2018 World Cup. Several lineup changes are expected from their first win of the tournament, including a start for Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
The RLC hype train was already quite full and ready to leave the station before any such rumors emerged, but there are those who are not afraid to throw another shovelful of coal or two on the fire. This thing’s about to get moving, so hold on!
“I do think he’s ready, yes, definitely, 100 per cent. [...] I think he is absolutely ready and I think he showed that in his cameo against Tunisia the other night.”
“I think Ruben’s internal midfield play is something that makes him very versatile.”
“I’d say he goes by people more than Ballack did. But I think he’s got Ballack’s power and his pace and his strength — he’s definitely got that. But he’s maybe got more strings to his bow than even Ballack had. That’s a bold thing to say, I know, but he’s so good at going past people. He’s got that deceptive turn of pace.
“In that way he’s a bit like Jack Wilshere really. That ability to receive a ball in tight situations and then come out very quickly on the other side and open a game up. That’s a skill because passing players can’t do that. Passing players have to pass it and then get it back again. Ruben can twist and turn his way out of tight situations and, as I say, open a game up. And then he’s very powerful going forward.
“I think he can add more goals to his game. I’m sure he will as time goes on.”
-Roy Hodgson; source: Mail
Hodgson’s of course biased, having reaped the benefits of the 22-year-old’s play as Crystal Palace manager over the past year. He’s also probably working all the angles to try to get RLC back next season as well.
Still, that doesn’t necessarily make him wrong. Loftus-Cheek, the new Ballack, perhaps even better. No pressure or expectations, then, kid!