Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Loftus-Cheek Has a Real Swagger about Him. It's What You Want in a Player

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Loftus-Cheek Has a Real Swagger about Him. It's What You Want in a Player

Article excerpt

Byline: Danny Murphy World Cup briefing In association with

ROY HODGSON and Ray Lewington are two people I worked with for a long time at Fulham and have a huge amount of respect for. They do not go overboard on players but they both think really highly of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and feel he can go on to have a big future.

I spoke to Roy about him during his time on loan at Crystal Palace last season and he always said he is a wonderfully gifted player who he felt could make an impact at this World Cup.

So, I was not surprised by Loftus-Cheek's performance against Tunisia on Monday or to hear that Gareth Southgate is ready to start him against Panama on Sunday. He does not seem fazed by the tournament at all and if Dele Alli is not fit, as appears very likely at this stage, then I hope he does play.

At 22, Loftus-Cheek has this swagger and confidence about him that all good players have and I think he gives England something different. He has quick feet and is very good at taking the ball in tight situations. In a game like this, where we will dominate the ball, it could be ideal for him, with his skill and ability to go past people and be creative.

Roy and Ray were a bit frustrated when he got a few niggles and knocks at Palace last season and could not quite string the amount of games together they wanted. They were saying that because of his frame and how athletic he is, he needs to be 100 per cent to play at his best.

But when they took over at Palace, they were actually a bit surprised by him and did not realise actually how talented he is.

Loftus-Cheek has not even played a full season in the Premier League, which makes it even more outstanding that he has a mentality that of someone who can put on an England shirt and perform immediately. He was man-ofthe-match on his England debut against Germany at Wembley last November and it shows he is a really confident young man. If he does play well on Sunday, then it is going to be hard for Gareth to leave him out.

People have questioned whether England have a creative player in midfield in the mould of Christian Eriksen or Kevin De Bruyne and, while you cannot yet put him in the same bracket as those two, he is such a graceful player who adds a different string to our bow. …

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