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Loftus-Cheek focused on seeing out season with Palace amid talk of summer move

Loftus-Cheek focused on seeing out season with Palace amid talk of summer move
By PA Sport

15/04/2018 at 20:30Updated 15/04/2018 at 22:46

The Eagles are looking to sign the 22-year-old on a permanent deal.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek will consider his future once Crystal Palace have secured their Premier League status.

The promising midfielder, on loan from Chelsea, has been one of their finest performers to the extent Palace hope to sign him on a permanent basis.

Their manager Roy Hodgson believes that in only two starts since his return from injury he has already rediscovered the form that earnt him his England debut, and hopes that by avoiding relegation they will be able to tempt Loftus-Cheek to commit to them.

Saturday’s 3-2 victory over rivals Brighton took Palace significantly closer to the first of those ambitions, and the 22-year-old said: “I really haven’t thought about what’s going to happen next season. I’ve still got a few games now.

“Big games coming up, so I’m focused with Palace. Whatever happens next season I’m not really looking at that right now. I’ll deal with that when it comes.

“The experience of being a Premier League player playing every week is just massive. The feeling of it, of getting three points, I’m just not used to it. Every game means something, the supporters are fantastic and since I’ve come to Palace I’ve learnt to fight as a team and for the three points.

“We still have a lot of fighting to do so I’m very grateful for Palace and for the season I’ve had.”

Asked if he was hoping to travel to the World Cup with England, he then responded: “Yes; fitness is a big thing. I’m starting to feel improvements now. The first 90 (minutes back) was the hardest so I’ll keep it going and try and get as fit as I can and as sharp as I can.”

Hodgson, 70, managed England at the past three major tournaments, and he said of Loftus-Cheek: “The way he is playing now after a long absence is the way he was playing when he was selected (for England).

“He is very good at screening, keeping the ball. He’s very good at beating players. His work-rate has been very good.

“For Ruben Loftus-Cheek to consider us seriously as an option, we need to be in the league (next season). Let’s keep our priorities right and work hard to stay in this league. Then I’m pretty sure we would be saying to Ruben, ‘Is it worth having the conversation with Chelsea, could you consider?’. Then the conversation with Chelsea will come around and we will see from there.

“There’s no doubt he is going to be hot property if he has four more games like the last couple. Not just for Crystal Palace but for other teams too.”

Brighton remain in the relative safety of 13th place, where they are seven points above the bottom three, but their manager Chris Hughton believes their defeat at Palace means they require an unexpected victory from their difficult run-in.

They are still to host Tottenham and Manchester United and visit Burnley, Manchester City and Liverpool, and he said: “We had two opportunities in our last two games at home (against Leicester and Huddersfield) to get more points than we did.

“We have got tough games and we will have to get a result that probably no-one expects in one of them.”