The Crystal Palace fans here in the Transfer Tavern are still celebrating their vital win over bitter rivals, Brighton, last weekend and the punters propping up our bar are finally confident of Premier League survival. It’s been an incredibly difficult campaign in South East London amid an injury crisis but the end is in sight at last.
If Roy Hodgson does manage to secure survival despite his vast array of injury concerns, it’ll be nothing short of a miracle. After losing their first seven games of the season under Frank De Boer, Palace’s players have helped turned things around and some of their vibrant attackers have impressed along the way.
Wilfried Zaha will clearly take many of the plaudits, though England international Ruben Loftus-Cheek is another to have helped potentially beat the drop and there’s still little surprise that their upturn in form coincided with his own return from a lay-off. A popular figure amongst our resident Eagles, they’re hoping the Chelsea loanee makes it to the World Cup as a result of his good form.
Handed his international debut back in November, Loftus-Cheek impressed against Germany and picked up the Man of the Match Award at Wembley, though missed out on the most recent friendlies due to his fitness. So, considering England’s problems in central midfield, many fans were expecting the 22-year-old to be in with a shout of making the final squad heading to Russia.
However, according to the Times, the Chelsea academy graduate may struggle to convince Gareth Southgate he can play multiple times within a short period, as is needed in tournament football. Fitness has been an issue for him and Southgate may believe it’s too much of a risk to try and rely on him, despite his obvious talent.
As you can imagine, our local Palace fans are absolutely gutted for Loftus-Cheek and hope he can yet change Southgate’s mind.
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