Loftus-Cheek: Don't write off England

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheeks says it would be “stupid to rule out England” at the 2018 Russia World Cup.

Loftus-Cheek, who was on loan at Crystal Palace for the 2017/18 season, was named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad on Wednesday, despite being out with an ankle injury from December until March this year.

He impressed towards the end of the Premier League season, helping Palace avoid relegation, and the midfielder believes it is a positive that Southgate has named a youthful squad.

“It would be stupid to rule us out. I think we have a really good squad, and the squad is young and youthful,” Loftus-Cheek said.

“But we are all here on merit on how well we performed this season. In training, you look at our talent and mentality, it is frightening. We have a good chance.

“I think we are special team because the squad is still young but so good at the same time. If we can deliver when it matters, and I think the boys can do that, then we can have a really good tournament.

“Looking into the future, as we are still so young, we can really develop into a top team.”

Questions have been asked whether the side may be too young due to the pressure of performing at a football tournament on the world stage.

But Southgate said he thinks “this is a squad people can be excited about” due to having a mix of young and important senior players.

Loftus-Cheek added: “I think this squad is used to playing under pressure. Most of us have not been to a World Cup before, but, for me, individually, I am excited to play at a World Cup and if you enjoy playing football, you will play your best football.

“If you enjoy it, the noise turns down from the outside. For me that is how I deal with it and I am sure the boys know how to deal with it too.”

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