Loftus-Cheek impresses ahead of possible Chelsea start

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek

England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate backed Ruben Loftus-Cheek to make an impact for Chelsea’s first team after the midfielder produced a hugely impressive display against Kazakhstan.

Loftus-Cheek, 19, scored the first goal for Southgate’s team as they cruised to a 3-0 win in a one-sided match.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has already indicated that he will select him for this Saturday’s home game against Aston Villa.

And Southgate believes Loftus-Cheek is heading in the right direction as he looks to establish himself in the Blues side.

He said: “Ruben knows he’s got to keep training well, and if he keeps doing that and performing as he did tonight, I’m sure he’ll get an opportunity.

“He’s very calm and level-headed. I don’t see any chance of him getting carried away and I have a feeling his club manager won’t let him do that.

“He’s a very powerful player. His use of the ball and ability to ride challenges and manipulate the ball quickly is very special.

“He should be very pleased with what he’s done and hopefully he can progress that over the next few weeks with his club.”

Loftus-Cheek has made seven first-team appearances for Chelsea so far, three of them this season.

His last outing came in the recent League Cup win at Walsall.