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December 17 2018 5.09am

Loftus-Cheek eyeing World Cup

November 11 2017

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Crystal Palace midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has set his sights on playing for England at next summer's World Cup.

Loftus-Cheek, who is on loan from Chelsea for the season, was handed his England debut by Gareth Southgate in Friday night's 0-0 draw against Germany.

The 21-year-old became the first Palace player to start for the Three Lions at Wembley since Geoff Thomas in February 1992.

And he sparkled against the world champions on his international bow by putting in a display that earned him the man-of-the match award.

"If we won it would have been better but I'm really happy," he said. "It was a really tactical game. It was good for us young players and I certainly learned a lot.

"The manager has said do your best. I had Gareth in charge for nearly three years with the under-21s and the boys have been great. I've settled in really well and they gave me a platform to go out and play."

Now the Lewisham-born star hopes an impressive campaign for Palace will earn him a spot in the squad for next year's world showpiece.

He said: "To go to the World Cup - it's a long season and I still have to improve. I have to keep learning and getting better and hopefully there's a chance to get on the plane."

Southgate added: "He did everything I know he can do. He has the physical attributes and can handle the ball. He will gain huge confidence from his display.

"It took him 10 minutes to realise he's OK here. I see things in him that lead me to believe he can play at this level. He's an exciting player and he's one who might have gone under the radar a bit for the wider public until now."

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