loftus-cheek

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has expressed hope that the club will be at the front of the queue if Chelsea decide to sell Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the summer. Loftus-Cheek is currently on a season-long loan to Palace where he has made 23 appearances in the Premier League, which is 1 more than his combined appearances in a Chelsea shirt in the past three campaigns.

The 22-year-old also received a call up to represent England in November, first against Germany, where he put in a man of the match performance before he limped off in the game against Brazil. However, he has recently suffered an ankle injury that has kept his world cup hopes in the balance.

“He’s a fantastic player and of course we’d love to keep him,” said Hodgson. “We’d love to bring him back but the bottom line is he was loaned to us for a season. At the end of the season, the plan from Chelsea was that he would go back to them so I guess we’ll have to wait and see what their thinking is.

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“If they make him available in any way then, of course, we’ll be right there trying to get to the front of the queue with our hands up but it’s totally out of our hands. Chelsea will decide.”

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The injury he sustained in December resulted in three months on the sidelines where he missed friendlies against Netherlands and Italy.

“I’m just hoping that having had such a long period out that his performances since he came back have at least given him a chance of getting recognised by the people who are going to select the England team,” Hodgson added.

“I’m just really pleased that at least now they know he’s there, just as they knew he was there before he got seriously injured in December.

“It’s Gareth Southgate’s decision and his coaching staff, I don’t want to see a headline that says ‘Hodgson says Ruben Loftus-Cheek should go to the World Cup’.

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“But if Gareth wants to check anything with me about his form and the way he is, of course, he knows where I am and I’m sure he’ll contact me, but I think he knows enough about him anyway.

“I trust him to make the decision that he wants to make and if he takes him it will be because he thinks Ruben has done well and is the right man for him but I would just back whatever decision he makes.”

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