Thursday 22 March 2018

Ruben Loftus-Cheek looking forward to reunion with Gareth Southgate

Ruben Loftus Cheek worked with Gareth Southgate with England Under-21s
Ruben Loftus Cheek worked with Gareth Southgate with England Under-21s

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is relishing the prospect of again working under Gareth Southgate after earning his first call-up to the England squad.

The midfielder, 21, has excelled for Southgate's former club Crystal Palace despite their struggles since he arrived there from Chelsea on loan.

He also impressed for Southgate with the England Under-21s and was part of the team that won the Toulon tournament in 2016 when the manager, as he is today with the senior team, was assisted by Steve Holland.

Loftus-Cheek, Tammy Abraham and Joe Gomez are the latest young players to receive their first call-ups - England host Germany and Brazil in friendlies on Friday and Tuesday - after Harry Winks' recent debut, and the former also plays in a position in which Southgate lacks options.

"I have had Gareth for three years in the Under-21s, he is a really good manager, so I am looking forward to working with him," he said. "We have won tournaments together, him and Steve Holland.

"He is very good with people, players. He treats everyone the same. What you see is what you get with him. He also demands standards in training and that is why he does so well.

"We will see what happens. I am a newcomer so I am not expecting anything. All I can do is train well and see what happens.

"It was a really good moment for me and my family (to receive that call-up). But you cannot linger on it for too long. I have got to work hard and knuckle down. I am very happy but at the same time I have still got to work hard.

"I was just at home (when I heard). My phone was ringing off and I was like, 'What is going on here?'

"(Roy Hodgson) was happy for me and said I deserved it. Hopefully I can do well."

Palace on Sunday showed further signs of improvement despite losing 1-0 to Tottenham at Wembley.

Their manager Hodgson refused to take solace from that fact, but Loftus-Cheek insists his and the players' belief - a long-term problem at Palace - is beginning to grow as a consequence.

"Our confidence is building from a month ago," he said. "We are definitely improving and the confidence is coming, so we have got a good chance of getting some points in that period (after the international break). We take it game by game. That is the best way to do it and look to improve.

"I came away from Chelsea to get game time. Experience, fitness, just getting used to playing in the Premier League week-in, week out. That is what I am getting."

Press Association

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport