• By Paul Lagan

Chelsea’s Loftus-Cheek backs Three Lions to roar at World Cup


Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Photo Paul Lagan

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is Russia-bound for England and happy to have played a part in their 2-1 win over Nigeria at Wembley on Saturday.

“I was eager to get on,” said the Lewisham-born 22-year old Chelsea midfielder, who spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace.

“I did some good things and, as a squad, we’re ready and using the next game as well for our preparation before we head to Russia.”

The Three Lions are back in action on Thursday against Costa Rica at Elland Road. Loftus-Cheek said: “I’ve had no indication if I’ll play, but I work hard in training and whatever happens, happens. I’m ready whatever happens and backing the team, whether I start or not.”

It’s the Lewisham-born player’s first year playing at the top level and he’s taking nothing for granted. “This season just gone has been my first season of proper football,” he said. “In my head I’m still a young player in terms of experience, so I’ll just take it as it comes. I’ve always said if I get a chance I’ll do my best. I won’t shy away from any opposition. I’m ready.”

Loftus-Cheek is positive about how England will perform in a couple of weeks - their first group match is against Tunisia on June 18. The win over a tough Nigeria side showed lots of promise.

“Watching the first half there was some good stuff,” he said. “There was loads of unselfish movement - if the player gets it, he gets it. But if he doesn’t, it opens space for other players. It was a really good first half.” England should beat Panama and then it’s Belgium in the final match – is he confident? “We see it as a challenge, but we can match them. The way we played in the first half, how we held our own against Germany and Brazil, we can defend well and create chances. We have a chance.”

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