Ruben Loftus-Cheek ready for Euro test with England U21s

Thursday 11 Jun 2015
Loftus-Cheek met up with the Under-21s for the first time this week
Ruben Loftus-Cheek says he’s ready to make an impact for England Under-21s in this month’s Euro Finals.

The Chelsea midfielder was picked by U21s boss Gareth Southgate for the trip to Czech Republic next week and is the youngest player in the squad as well as the only one to be uncapped at this level.

But after featuring regularly for the Three Lions throughout the previous age groups and making his breakthrough with Jose Mourinho’s men in the later stages of last season, the 19-year-old is confident for this summer.

Gareth Southgate trains the squad, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek watching on.

Loftus-Cheek watches on as Gareth Southgate instructs at training

"It [the call-up] was out of the blue really," he told TheFA.com, from the squad’s training base at St. George’s Park.

"I didn’t have any heads up or anything but when I found out, I was really happy.

"I’m really excited to see what it’s going to be like and it’s a big competition, so I’m looking forward to it.

"It’s my first Euros for England, as I haven’t managed to get there in the previous years with the U19s and U17s.

"One of the reasons I’m here is because I’ve done well, so if I can do what I’ve been doing for my club and just be confident then I think I can do well there."

The trip to the Euro Finals rounds-off an eventful few weeks for the Lewisham-born schemer.

He was given his first start for Chelsea in their line-up against Liverpool last month before also featuring for the Premier League champions in their game against West Bromwich Albion, after being part of the first-team squad in training since January.

And his breakthrough campaign ended on the club’s post-season tour to Thailand and Australia, where he came in for criticism from Mourinho after their final game with Sydney FC.

Chelsea debutant Ruben Loftus-Cheek challenges Liverpool

Loftus-Cheek in action on his debut for Chelsea against Liverpool in May

But Loftus-Cheek remains determined to stake his claim for next season, after hopefully catching the eye for England this month in front of Blues first-team coach Steve Holland, who is also Southgate's assistant manager.

"It’s been a mad few months, making my Prem debut and then getting another game as well," he admitted. 

"It’s been a good end to the season for me, but I just want to kick-on now and try to push and push.

"Hopefully, I can do well at the Euros and then it’s back to pre-season and the hard work starts then.

"I always want to push on, I don’t think I’ve made it yet or anything. I just want to push on, do more things and get more games for Chelsea next season.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek dribbles past his squad mates in England Under-21 training.

Loftus-Cheek leads his squad-mates trailing during training at St. George's Park this week

"I’ve been training with the first team since January and I’ve really enjoyed it. 

"I look up to all of them, the players that have been playing every week and training hard day-in and day-out. 

"You see the winning mentality from all of them. So for me, just being around a winning team is great."

There’s no shortage of confidence elsewhere in the U21s squad either, with England having qualified for the Finals in style last October before beating fellow finalists Portugal, Czech Republic and Germany in warm-up games since.

And Loftus-Cheek has been quickly bedded into the group, after reporting for duty at the start of this week following his return home and a few days rest from Chelsea’s long-haul trip.

"I’ve settled in really well," he added. 

"The lads have helped me and they’re all good lads so I’ve been able to settle in quite quickly. 

"I’ve enjoyed the training, it’s been a lot of fun and that’s a good part of it, being able to enjoy it as well and try to play good football, so it’s all good."

Watch the full interview with Ruben on FATV in the media player above.

By Nicholas Veevers at St. George's Park