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Joey Barton's comments about Ruben Loftus-Cheek after Tunisia win could well be true

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Despite the referee's best efforts, Harry Kane proved to be the hero for England against Tunisia as the striker's late header spared England's blushes.

Under normal circumstances, the fact that it took until the 91st minute for the Three Lions to get themselves over the line would attract criticism.

However, Gareth Southgate's men persevered, they played some good football, and had VAR done its job properly, they probably should have had two penalties as well.

In light of all that, England fans were absolutely buzzing with their first game of the 2018 World Cup.

This is an exciting young squad and it looks to have its fair share of depth about it too, with substitutes Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek stirring their team-mates after coming on.

Loftus-Cheek continues to impress and his energy was clear to see when he replaced Dele Alli with 10 minutes left.

Speaking on talkSPORT's Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Joey Barton even backed him to emulate Paul Gascoigne by turning himself from a squad player into an indispensable part of the national side.

Barton was impressed  

“I was really impressed by Loftus-Cheek when he came on,” Barton said.

“He looked lively and had that ability to go past a player from midfield.

“I just had a funny feeling, and I’m not comparing them by any stretch, but my first World Cup as a kid was Italia 90 and Gascoigne obviously started that tournament as a squad player – he had the number 19 on his back and by the end of the tournament he’d really been taken into the country’s hearts.

“I just have a feeling that could be Loftus-Cheek for England in Russia.

“He’s got that kind of quality, I really think that boy is that good of a player and I’d love to see him start getting more game time.”

Tunisia v England: Group G - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Needing more game time has been the story of the midfielder's career to date and it was only this season that he finally left Chelsea and started making waves at Crystal Palace.

His loan spell with the Eagles earned him his England debut against Germany, in which he was thoroughly impressive.

It's expected that Southgate will make a couple of changes for the Panama game on Sunday, partly dependent on the results of Alli's knee scan.

Barton won't be the only one hoping we see more of Loftus-Cheek.

How should England line up against Panama? Have your say in the comments. 

Topics:
Joey Barton
Football
Ruben Loftus-Cheek
England Football
World Cup
Chelsea

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