Southgate: Loftus-Cheek will come back stronger

2017-11-16 09:04
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Gareth Southgate has played down the injury to Ruben Loftus-Cheek that forced the player off early against Brazil on Tuesday.

The Chelsea midfielder, currently on loan at Crystal Palace, started at Wembley against the five-time World Cup winners but lasted just 35 minutes before injuring his back, and was replaced by Jesse Lingard.

Following the match, Southgate said: "I think we're going to have to give him time to build his resilience, he's had to go through that as a young player - through the growth spurts that he had.

"He's already played more minutes this year than he played in the whole of last season so inevitably there's going to be a little bit of a response to that as the season goes on."

Southgate managed Loftus-Cheek at under-21 level and can see the improvement in the player.

"He's way stronger now than he was a year, two years ago," added Southgate. "At that time it was very difficult for him to finish 90 minutes. On Friday he did that comfortably and looked strong at the end.

"Today's a disappointment for him to have to come off because I think he'd already shown some really good touches within the game."

Southgate concluded: "The 10 days overall have been a massive stride forward for him.

"You know for him and (Joe) Gomez, in particular, at their age to come into these games and perform as they did on such limited league experience is absolutely outstanding."


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