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Ruben Loftus-Cheek relaxed over role as England monitor Dele Alli's fitness

2018-06-20 15:45:54


Ruben Loftus-Cheek came on as a substitute in England's win over Tunisia

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is staying calm at the prospect of a first World Cup start as England continue to monitor the fitness of Dele Alli.

Alli is a doubt for the next match against Panama on Sunday after sustaining a minor thigh strain in the 2-1 win over Tunisia.

The 22-year-old went for a scan as his team-mates trained on Tuesday afternoon and will be managed carefully over the coming days, with Loftus-Cheek the most likely candidate to start if Alli misses out.

The Chelsea midfielder, who replaced Alli with 10 minutes left in Volgograd, made a positive impact as England pressed for a late winner and is willing to be an impact substitute again.

Loftus-Cheek has made just five senior international appearances

When asked if he is hoping to start against Panama, Loftus-Cheek told England's official YouTube channel: "I am happy if I start or if I don't. I will be ready to come on again if I get the opportunity.

"When the game is like that, [when there is] not long left, you have to try and make stuff happen and take risks rather than just go on and be direct."

Harry Kane's 91st-minute winner against Tunisia means Gareth Southgate's side are level on points with Group G leaders Belgium going into the second round of matches, and Loftus-Cheek is grateful that the late chance fell to the captain.

"I was at the near post and just looked back and saw Harry there and I thought: 'thank God it's Harry'," he said.

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