Ruben Loftus-Cheeks: “stupid to rule out England”

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheeks says it would be “stupid to rule out England” at the 2018 Russia World Cup.

Gareth Southgate’s squad is the third youngest England selection for a World Cup, behind 1958 and 2006, but the 22-year-old still maintains England have a chance of winning.

The 23 players selected have an average age of 26 years and have made a total of 449 international appearances – an average of 19.5, with Chelsea defender Gary Cahill being the only player with more than 40 caps.

Loftus-Cheeks has two caps, having played the full 90 minutes in the goalless draw against Germany in which he was named man of the match on his debut back in November and later played against Brazil but was taken off due to an injury.

But with less than 50 games under his belt in club football, Loftus-Cheek will not be a known quantity for opposition coaches at the World Cup and could be Southgate’s secret weapon.

“It would be stupid to rule us out,” said the Chelsea youth product. “We have a really good squad. It is youthful but we are all here on merit and how well we have done this season. In training you see that the talent is frightening. We have a good chance.

“I always aspire to be better and make my game better but I do believe in my ability. Even though it was a friendly, it was still a big stage against Germany at Wembley on my first cap and I like to be excited about those moments.

“This squad is used to playing under pressure. Most of us have not been to a World Cup before, but for me individually, I am just excited about playing at a World Cup. If you enjoy your football, you play your best football.”