England boss Gareth Southgate have admitted that senior Chelsea stars saw the talents of Ruben Loftus-Cheek in training and slapped him down, according to the mirror sport.
Southgate made the admission after the 21-year-old caught the eye at Wembley during England’s goalless friendly with Germany.
Southgate revealed after the final whistle that the 21-year old was ready to become a regular that Chelsea’s big names have been hampering his progress – a fact underlined by his year-long loan to Crystal Palace.
He said: “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.
“And 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.
“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.
Southgate equally believes Loftus-Cheek has room for improvement, although playing regularly for the Eagles this season is of benefit.
He said: “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.
“He can add more quality in the final third. He can probably go and score more goals given his attributes.
“But I was pleased to see the affect he had. He’s at his best receiving the ball behind the opposition midfield, driving towards goal and sliding passes into people. He can take the ball under pressure too which is a great skill to have.
“And he’s an unassuming, quiet, polite kid – I hope he takes huge belief and confidence from that because he’s shown what he is capable of.
“I’ve had plenty of long conversations with him over the years about the areas he is really strong in and the areas he needs to develop.”