Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Loftus-Cheek targeting World Cup place after impressive England debut

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Nov 2017

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek felt his England debut against Germany on Friday was a learning experience as he now targets a place in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.

The 21-year-old midfielder was among five Three Lions stars making their senior bow and he was arguably the pick of the bunch, collecting the man-of-the-match award after a scintillating display.

Having taken his chance following injuries to established stars Jordan Henderson and Dele Alli, Loftus-Cheek now plans to keep pushing in the hope of forcing Southgate’s hand come next year’s tournament in Russia.

“[The debut] could have been better – if we’d won, it would have been better,” he told ITV. “But I’m really happy.

“It was a tough game against a good Germany side. I think it was a very tactical game. With the age in the squad, it was good for us young players. I certainly learned a lot in this game.

“[Southgate] hasn’t said too much. He just said: ‘do your best like you normally do’. I had Gareth for three years in Under-21s, so it wasn’t too much of a new thing coming here.

“The boys have been great. I’ve settled in really well and they’ve given me a platform to go out and play.

“To go to the World Cup, there’s still a long season and I’m still looking to improve until the end of the season. There’s a chance, but I have to keep learning and keep getting better.”

Eric Dier – captain in Tottenham team-mate Harry Kane’s absence – felt England could have won the game, with Jesse Lingard squandering a great late opportunity.

“I think we did well, obviously against a very well-oiled machine in Germany,” he said.

“They’re going to have periods in the game where they control possession, but I felt they didn’t really hurt us on any occasion when they did that.

“We also had periods where we controlled the game. We broke well on the counter-attack as well at times and we’re actually disappointed we couldn’t score.”

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