Gareth Southgate claims senior players damaged Loftus-Cheek's development at Chelsea

Although England vs Germany at Wembley was a rather dull 0-0 affair, there’s one player who will never forget Friday night. 

Against the world champions, 21-year-old Ruben Loftus-Cheek caught the eye of many, impressing from midfield on his international debut. 

He went toe to toe with Germany’s established senior stars, matching up against the likes of Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan and often came off best. 

His first Three Lions start suggested that the midfielder has a bright future with his country and some fans have even been arguing that he should be in England’s 2018 World Cup squad.

Loftus-Cheek is currently on-loan from Chelsea at Crystal Palace, who are struggling at the bottom of the Premier League. 

They’ve only won one game all season, ironically against the midfielder’s parent club, meaning he wasn’t even involved. 

But the youngster’s impressive international debut came as no surprise to England boss Gareth Southgate, who’s very familiar with Loftus-Cheek. 

“I’ve known Ruben a long time – I think the first time I saw him was an Under-16 international – I think Dele Alli played that night in his first game too,” he said, per the Mirror

“When you see his physical size, you think you’ll also see a certain type of player. Then I saw what you all saw against Germany – one that is so technically-gifted.”

Southgate then went on to make a huge claim that senior players at Chelsea hampered the midfielder’s development because they were threatened by his ability. 

“He’s also been able to battle through difficult spells at Chelsea where he’s been training with senior players who have recognised his talent and so they get to him in training.”

“Have they kept him in his place? Yes. They probably saw the threat.”

A claim like that if true is devastating. Blues fans will be hoping Loftus-Cheek will return to Stamford Bridge next season and fight for a place in Chelsea’s first team. 

However, if he has been getting rough treatment, the midfielder may not want to return. But Southgate has said his loan at Palace will be very useful if he wants to become one of the best.

“Going out and playing this season has helped him. I watched him early-season and I saw flashes. I think he can affect big matches.” 

Should Loftus-Cheek be an option for England’s World Cup squad after one game? Have your say in the comments below.

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