Loftus Cheek Dele Alli
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  • Ruben Loftus-Cheek deserves to start for England against Panama.
  • Loftus-Cheek has outperformed Dele Alli for The Three Lions recently.
  • Do you agree, Blues?

Ruben Loftus-Cheek demonstrated why he deserves to start for England during his 14-minute cameo against Tunisia on Monday night.

The Three Lions found themselves in need of some inspiration in the second-half of their World Cup opener. Gareth Southgate opted to introduce Manchester United attacker Marcus Rashford and Chelsea midfielder Loftus-Cheek. Both players contributed to the turn of the tides in the contest.

Loftus-Cheek’s positive thinking was infectious. Every time he received the ball he looked to drive at the Tunisian defence. His forward-thinking won England the corner which led to Harry Kane scoring a dramatic winner in the 91st minute.

He did enough to earn a starting role against Panama. There’s no doubt about that.

Tottenham Hotspur goal-machine Dele Alli may well be one of the most promising young players that England have produced in recent seasons, but he has struggled to replicate his Spurs performances on the international stage.

Alli has found the back of the net just twice in 26 appearances for his country. When you consider that he’s scored 46-times in three seasons as a Tottenham player, he needs to be doing better in an England shirt.

Loftus-Cheek enjoyed a superb season out on-loan with Crystal Palace. After earning a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad, he was named man of the match for his international debut against Germany.

Loftus Cheek
Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek was named man of the match following his England debut against Germany.

Loftus-Cheek proved again on Monday night that he isn’t phased by the occasion. He thrives on the pressure and trusts in his own quality.

As Sky Sports reported at the time, former England manager Roy Hodgson sang Loftus-Cheek’s praises after spending a year with him under his wing:

“He has the chance to be a really top player at club and international level because he doesn’t have any weaknesses.”

The 2016/17 Premier League winner has already proven during the early stages of his professional career that he has all the attributes required to reach the summit of the football world.

The World Cup is the perfect platform for Loftus-Cheek to spread his wings and send a message to Chelsea ahead of next season.

He has outperformed Alli in recent games for England, and Southgate ought to show further faith in the midfielder in handing him his first competitive start for his country.

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