Gareth Southgate opens door for Ruben Loftus-Cheek to return to England if Chelsea lender returns to form at Fulham | London Evening Standard
The Chelsea midfielder, who was part of the World Cup squad in Russia but has not played for England since November 2018 after almost a year with injury before the Covid-19 pandemic struck , joined Fulham on a one-season loan on deadline day.
Loftus-Cheek says he wants to get back to his best, opportunities being the most important factor in leaving Chelsea for the season, with competition at Stamford Bridge limiting his chances of regaining form and fitness.
A key factor in the move was also ensuring enough playing time to catch Southgate’s attention ahead of the European Championship next summer, and the England boss has said a return to the squad of the Three Lions could follow if the 24-year-old returns to playing.
“Whenever I talk to players about these kinds of situations, first and foremost they have to do what is right for their careers,” Southgate said. “England is a consequence later.
“When making career decisions you want to play football first and foremost and if there is a better chance of playing football more regularly at Fulham given the amount of football that Ruben sadly missed with various injuries then for his own development and his own enjoyment of his career so I think that’s the key.
“Then if he can play well his return to the England squad is taken into account. But he missed almost 18 months.
“Really unhappy to get injured he was having a great spell with Chelsea in the late Europa League stadiums, misses almost a year, then just as he’s getting back in shape we have the pandemic so he missed a big piece.
“We know what talent he has, we know what he is capable of. I hope he can start playing regularly with Fulham again and then he can go from there.”