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Loftus-Cheek aims to force himself into World Cup contention

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427   //    28 Mar 2018, 18:39 IST
RubenLoftusCheek - cropped
England midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek

England international Ruben Loftus-Cheek wants to force his way into World Cup contention after spending three months on the sidelines.

The 22-year-old, on loan at Crystal Palace from Chelsea, was named man of the match on his England debut in last November's 0-0 draw against Germany, but only returned from an ankle problem on March 17.

Having missed the Three Lions' friendlies against Netherlands and Italy as a consequence, he is desperate to regain a place in Gareth Southgate's squad ahead of Russia 2018 by helping Palace avoid relegation from the Premier League.

"It would be massive for me to go to a World Cup. That is what I am aspiring to but that will come from my performances with Palace at the end of the season," Loftus-Cheek told the London Evening Standard.

"I have spoken to Gareth. He did not say much, he just asked me how my injury was. He wished me all the best for the games to come.

"Right now, I am focused on Palace. I have got seven games to get as much playing time as possible. I am back now and raring to go.

"It is tight down at the bottom but hopefully we can go on a good run."

Palace, who take on Liverpool at Selhurst Park on Saturday, are two points clear of the relegation zone, but Southampton and West Ham each possess a game in hand.

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