Loftus-Cheek needs to show his class in Palace’s dog-fight

A Crystal Palace rising star has been told he’s got to make sure he produces stand-out performances, for club and country, week-in and week-out. Starting at Wembley tomorrow night against Brazil, but also to help Palace win their relegation dog-fight.

England’s new hero: Palace midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was widely acclaimed as the man of the match on his senior international debut on Friday night for England, playing against world champions Germany.

Jamie Redknapp, the former Liverpool and England midfielder turned television and newspaper pundit, was among those impressed by Loftus-Cheek’s classy performance. Redknapp’s “revelation” about the talents of Loftus-Cheek will be nothing new to Palace fans who have admired the midfielder’s performances since his debut for the club against Huddersfield in August.

After a couple of seasons on the fringes of Chelsea’s first team, Loftus-Cheek, 21, is on loan at Selhurst Park this term. He was called up to the England squad after a number of players withdrew for the friendlies against Germany and tomorrow night with Brazil.

On Sky Sports and in his regular column in the Daily Mail today, Redknapp picks out Loftus-Cheek as the kind of emerging youngster who might deliver a more promising future for the national side, playing under Gareth Southgate, the former Palace defender.

England manager Southgate said of Loftus-Cheek, “He’s got so many good attributes, top attributes, and that’s why we put him into the team. We believe in him and believe in the others we played.”

And Redknapp today bracketed Loftus-Cheek with a cohort of emerging England talent including Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling.

“Ruben Loftus-Cheek is one of those players, yes,” Redknapp said. “But let me say this – he needs to do it more often. He can’t sit back and say ‘that’s it, I’ve arrived’.

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“I was thrilled to see him bossing the game at Wembley against Germany. We’ve been talking about his ‘potential’ for too long.

“I watched him in the FA Youth Cup four years ago and he was a stand-out player, but he plays in his shell too often. This needs to be his breakthrough moment. I want to see him running games for Crystal Palace and then refuse to take a step back when he returns to his parent club, Chelsea.

“I hope we are not looking back on one Friday night cameo as his main play.

“Loftus-Cheek played without fear against the Germans.

“The challenge is to stand out in a team at the bottom of the league, in a relegation dog-fight, but that’s what he needs to do now.”

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