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Wednesday 23 October 2019

Hodgson still keen on bringing Loftus-Cheek back to Selhurst Park

The Chelsea midfielder impressed on loan at Palace last season and earned a spot in England’s World Cup squad.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek impressed while on loan at Palace last season (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Ruben Loftus-Cheek impressed while on loan at Palace last season (Anthony Devlin/PA)

By Declan Warrington, Press Association Sport

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson remains interested in re-signing Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

The Chelsea midfielder has been left out of the latest England squad having struggled for first-team football at Stamford Bridge, and after excelling to such an extent while on loan at Palace last season that he featured at the World Cup.

Hodgson had made no secret of his desire to bring Loftus-Cheek back on loan or on a permanent basis but he has so far remained at Chelsea, where the intense competition for places mean that even the decorated Cesc Fabregas has become peripheral.

Despite since recruiting Cheikhou Kouyate and Max Meyer, Palace have also been inconsistent in Loftus-Cheek’s absence. When asked of the 22-year-old – who in addition to also vying for selection with Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley has had a foot injury – Hodgson therefore said: “We admire him, we like him very much and we wish him well.

“Of course like a lot of other clubs I’m sure, when the day comes when he becomes available for transfer, we will be sticking our noses into that.

“But whether we will get him again, that’s another matter. Who knows? We will see. He did an outstanding job for us when he came here and really for us answered all the questions that we hoped he would answer.

“It is a hypothesis that Chelsea are not happy with him, and not considering him to be a very important member of their first-team squad. I don’t like to discuss players in that respect.

“Luckily for us and even more for him, (his performances) got him recognised by the national team, and he found himself in Russia representing England, which was a perfect end to the season he had for us.”

Palace host Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday, when they will again be looking to record their first home league victory of the season.

Christian Benteke, whose absence was felt in Monday’s 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth, misses out once more with a knee injury, meaning Hodgson is expected to make few changes to his starting XI.

“The longer you don’t win at home, the more the pressure will build up, but we have to go and give the performance we want to give,” said Hodgson.

The former England boss is bracing himself for a tough test against promoted Wolves though, with Nuno Espirito Santo’s side ninth in the table having lost just one of their seven Premier League games so far.

“(They) pose a threat. Their start has been excellent; they’re a good team. They are way up there in the table, which for newcomers isn’t always the case, so we are preparing for a very, very difficult game,” he said.

“Their mood is very good and their confidence must be very high, and that must be a good thing for a coach.”

PA Media

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