Monday 23 April 2018

England midfield crisis opens door for Loftus-Cheek

England's Ruben Loftus-Cheek during the training session at St George's Park. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA
England's Ruben Loftus-Cheek during the training session at St George's Park. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Gareth Southgate will give Ruben Loftus-Cheek his England debut against Germany tonight after a midfield injury crisis which saw Danny Drinkwater pull out again with a calf problem.

After the withdrawals of Harry Winks and Jordan Henderson earlier this week, Southgate hoped to call up Chelsea midfielder Drinkwater, putting him in contention for his England debut. But Drinkwater, who has been injured whenever England have tried to call him in the past, said that he did not feel ready this time either. He arrived at Chelsea with a calf problem, which he felt again during Sunday's 1-0 win over Manchester United.

"I wanted to find out where he felt he was," Southgate said. "He has only played 70 minutes for Chelsea in terms of starting, and he felt he wasn't ready yet to play at this level. The physical demands at this level are incredibly high now. You've got to be able to cover the ground, you've got feel that you are in peak physical condition. If Danny didn't feel he wasn't ready for that I can understand."

With no Drinkwater, Eric Dier, who is set to captain England for the first time, will be partnered by Loftus-Cheek in midfield tonight.

The 21-year-old is in the senior squad owing to some impressive form since he went on loan from Chelsea to Crystal Palace. (© Independent News Service)

  • England v Germany, Live, UTV, 8.0

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