MX23RW : Saturday, December 15 00:49:14

Gareth Southgate: 'Chelsea players threatened by Ruben Loftus-Cheek'

Southgate: 'Loftus-Cheek threat to teammates'
© Offside
England boss Gareth Southgate heaps further praise on midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who he admits has benefited massively from his loan move to Crystal Palace.

England manager Gareth Southgate has suggested that Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been held back at Chelsea as his teammates 'see him as a threat'.

The 21-year-old has failed to establish himself at Stamford Bridge during his three years at senior level, making just 12 starts in all competitions.

Loftus-Cheek has featured heavily on loan at Crystal Palace this term, however, and further enhanced his reputation with a man-of-the-match display on his international debut against Germany on Friday night.

Southgate is delighted that Loftus-Cheek took his big chance to shine, but has challenged the Chelsea academy product to add some goals to his game.

"He has been able to battle through difficult spells at Chelsea, training with senior players who recognise his talent so get into him in training," he told reporters. "Have they kept him in his place? Yes, I imagine they probably saw the threat. This season going out and playing has helped him. In the early season I saw him and he showed flashes of what we saw against Germany.

"I think he can affect big matches like he did. I've known Ruben a long time - I think the first time I saw him was in an Under-16s international. I've had plenty of long conversations with him over the years about the areas he is really strong in and the areas he needs to develop. He can probably add a little bit more quality in the final third.

"He can probably go and score more goals given some of the attributes he has, but I was really pleased to see the effect he had and to get a performance like that. When you see his physical size, you think you'll see a certain type of player. Then I saw what you all saw against Germany - one that is so technically-gifted.

"He's at his best receiving the ball behind the opposition midfield, driving towards goal and sliding passes into people. He can take the ball under pressure too which is a great skill to have. He's an unassuming, quiet, polite kid. I hope he takes huge belief and confidence from that because he's shown what he is capable of."

Loftus-Cheek had 67 touches of the ball against Germany and ended the match with a 96% pass accuracy figure, completing 33 of his passes in the opposition half.


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Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater in action during his side's Premier League clash with West Bromwich Albion at the King Power Stadium on November 6, 2016
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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