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England

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek has confirmed he will make a decision over his Chelsea future at the end of the World Cup.

The England international, who’s been selected from Gareth Southgate in the 23-man squad which will travel to Russia, played 22 games for Crystal Palace in 2017/18 campaign.

“Going forward I’ve really realised the importance of playing regularly for my own progress and development,” he told Mirror Sport. 

“I felt like I got better and better every game at Palace so playing regularly is the key going forward and that will help me make my decision after the World Cup.”

Loftus-Cheek recently added Chelsea would remain his first choice if regular first-team football is guaranteed.

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Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel said the Italian manager was among the reasons why he left Stamford Bridge earlier last season.

Antonio Conte told reporters the Nigerian midfielder was keen on a move to Chinese Super League to make a new experience following 11 years with the Blues.

However, Mikel himself believes Conte’s lack of respect and appreciation towards ‘players who have been there before and who made this club what it is today’ made the difference in his decision to leave the West London club in 2017.

Speaking ahead of international friendly game against England National team at Wembley, he said: “Definitely it was the right time [to leave] because when you have a manager who… you have to come in whoever you are – manager or player – there are people who have been there before who made this club what it is today”.

“Chelsea was nowhere near what it is 10, 15 years ago. There are players that build and build and build, then it’s all about respect. When you don’t get that from  you deal with it, you move on.

“My connection with the club has not changed because of the manager or because of a certain person. My relationship with the club remains. I am a blue and I want to remain that way for years and years to come”.

Obi Mikel spoke out also on Roman Abramovich: “It doesn’t concern me at all. The club is in really good hands, run by Marina [Granovskaia] now. She loves the club. I think she makes decisions purely on the betterment of the club, which is how a club should be run. She does exactly what Roman wants her to do”.

“Roman loves the club. He has devoted his time, money into this football club. He has made Chelsea what it is today. I don’t care what anyone says, Roman made Chelsea what Chelsea is today and I think, because of the amount of wealth he has brought into this country, everybody owes him a little bit of appreciation.”

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Victor Moses and former Chelsea star Mikel John Obi were selected in Nigeria’s XI to face England at Wembley on Saturday, while defender Kenneth Omeruo came off the bench in the second period.

Chelsea captain Gary Cahill broke the deadlock with a fine header before Harry Kane doubled the score before halftime. Arsenal star Iwobi pulled one back for Super Eagles but England were able to see out the win in their first warm-up friendly ahead of World Cup 2018 in Russia.

Cahill said after the game: “We played against a good team, they are a strong side having players all around Europe as well as in the Premier League. In the second half they changed and we had to adapt to the change. It took 10 minutes, which I think is probably something we will touch upon this week. We saw the game out and we won the game. 

“I bring experience but I am also competing with the rest of squad. I ve still got something to offer, I got that chance to score today and it was a fantastic delivery from Trippier. It’s a great group to be involved with, the team has a lot of positive to take from today”. 

Cahill also backed Manchester City star Raheem Sterling, who was booked for diving in the second half: “Raheem has been fantastic with it all, he manages that situation very, very well. Kept working hard, kept his focus and I think today you saw a performance that, apart from scoring a goal, he was very lively. So, credit to him”.

 

 

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22-year-old midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has confirmed Chelsea would remain his first choice if regular first-team football is guaranteed. The England international, who’s been selected from Gareth Southgate in the 23-man squad which will travel to Russia next month, played 22 games for Crystal Palace in 2017/18 campaign.

Loftus-Cheek said speaking at a press conference: “I always try to improve my game but this was my first real season as a Premier League player. I didn’t play as much as I wanted because of the injuries, but I am excited for next season and just want to play a lot again”.

“I’m not thinking about going on loan again too much right now. I’m trying to focus on this summer and what’s to come. This tournament is too big to be overlooking and not giving my full focus. Right now my mind is on that”.

The midfielder suffered an ankle injury which kept him out for three months earlier this season.

“I have to go back to Chelsea for pre-season anyway, that is where I will be after the World Cup. So I will decide, when that time comes” Loftus-Cheek added.

“I’m not too worried about future. It will get sorted. But I’m focused on training well now and looking to get as fit as possible for the World Cup.”

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England manager Gareth Southgate revealed Chelsea captain Gary Cahill didn’t answer the phone when he called him and he has to find a different way to tell him he has been included in the list of 23 players who will take part to Russia 2018 World Cup.

He didn’t pick up at first”, Southgate told Metro“and then I left him a message saying, “Look, I don’t only call when it’s bad news” I had left him out of the squad in March and I had a little bet with myself that if I called he wouldn’t pick up”.

However, Southgate wanted to give Cahill the good news as he believes the Blues defender can be useful during England’s campaign in Russia this summer: “He looks happier in himself and happier in his game”, the England boss went on, “so that was nice to be able to be at least let him know that the reason for the call was a good one”. 

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek celebrating his first official goal with Chelsea against Scunthorpe © Francesca Ceciarini

England coach Gareth Southgate just announced his squad for Russia 2018 World Cup.

Chelsea players Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus- Cheek ( who played on loan to Crystal Palace this season) were named in the 23-men list.

The selected players in full:

Goalkeepers – Jordan Pickford (Everton), Jack Butland (Stoke), Nick Pope (Burnley)

Defenders – John Stones (Manchester City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ashley Young (Manchester United), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham)

Midfielders – Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace/ Chelsea), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Fabian Delph (Manchester City)

Forwards-  Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

 

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Chelsea defender Reece James has been named Academy Player of the Year following a season of achievements with the Blues’ Under-18s team.

The 18-year-old, who recently lifted the FA Youth Cup for a fifth consecutive time, sealed 42 appearances with the Academy also winning the Under-19 EURO 2017 and Toulon Tournament with England.

James said: “It has been a fantastic season and we have been defensively very strong. It is a great feeling to wear the captain’s armband and I am glad we won”.

 

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Chelsea captain Gary Cahill has claimed he’s tired of proving himself:  the English defender, 32, is hoping he can keep his place in manager Antonio Conte’s squad for the rest of the season and earn a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for this summer’s World Cup, since he was not selected having for last March friendlies.

“I realise the manager has decisions to make. I realise I’m not getting any younger,” the Blues skipper said.

“I don’t feel like I need to prove anything. I’ve proven it before, time and time again. It gets tiring after a bit, if I’m honest. Maybe that’s just football, maybe that’s just the way my past has gone, I don’t know.”

“Everything is a possibility when you’re playing, hence why I am happy. I am back out there and let’s see what happens at the end of the season. We have gone into the final and the World Cup is coming, so let’s wait and see.”

 

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Chelsea captain Gary Cahill, as well as forward Alvaro Morata, (Spain) has not been selected in the England squad to face Holland and Italy next week. Antonio Conte believes the defender deserves to be called in Gareth Southgate‘s final selection to play the World Cup in Russia next summer.

Conte told Chelsea’s official website: “For sure you are talking about a really good player, with great quality as a player and also human qualities. It is difficult for me with my past to speak about the decisions of the manager of the national team. We have to respect, also because this is not the final call for the World Cup. Maybe the manager wants to try or find out new solutions. There are a lot of thoughts in the mind of the coach before preparing the final list, and you have to try to have a very clear mind”.

“This is the last opportunity for the managers of the national teams to explore new situations. Gary is a player who for his experience and for the quality of the player and the person, I hope he goes in the national team and plays another World Cup. Usually with the national team, you can call also players who are not playing with regularity. When I was coach with the national team, it happened because I trusted in the players and it can happen that when a player is with a great team with a lot of competition, you can stay on the bench”.

Also Alvaro Morata has a clear chance to be included in Spain National Team again, according to the Italian manager: “I understand it is a hard time but there is only one way, to work hard and show that you deserve to play for the national. team That is the only way, not to complain, and I can help them to improve and to work very hard and show that they deserve to go”.

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Speaking about Ross Barkley‘s signing again Chelsea boss Antonio Conte claimed the former Everton midfielder will have to do everything to show he deserve being in the England squad for Russia 2018 World Cup:

“We have five months to show he deserves a call with the national team for the World Cup,” Conte told Sky Sports News.

I hope [he gets one], because it means he will do very well with us.

“It’s important for me to see him, to understand his physical condition,” the Italian added when asked about a timescale for the midfielder’s return to full fitness.

“My hope is to have this player [available] very quickly.

 “He can play in midfield, if we play with three midfielders, or number 10 if we play 3-4-3. Before playing we must be sure that he is into our idea of football. Otherwise, it’s a problem for him and it’s a problem for the rest of the team.”

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