RLC: 'I know where he is on the pitch without looking'

Thursday 26 May 2016
Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek helped fire England Under-21s to victory over Paraguay on Wednesday and what is likely to be a place in Sunday’s Toulon Tournament Final.

The Chelsea midfielder scored two as the Three Lions beat their South American opponents by 4-0 in Six-Fours-les-Plages.

And with three wins from three games so far, the result means that it would take a defeat against Japan and a big swing in goal difference in the other remaining Group B fixture between Portugal and Paraguay to deny England a spot in Sunday’s showpiece in Avignon.

Paraguay 0-4 England

Toulon Tournament
Wednesday 25 May 2016
Live on BT Sport

"I’m delighted with it, the whole team are delighted and so are the staff as well," said Loftus-Cheek after the match.

"We came into the game knowing it was going to be a fight because the pitches aren’t the best, but we still tried to play and we matched their fight and determination.

"I think we’ll always come out on top if we match other teams because we have so much quality in our team and we’re really happy."

Loftus-Cheek played a part in getting England’s scoring underway, setting up his Stamford Bridge team-mate Lewis Baker for his first-half opener.

And he then out-muscled Paraguay captain Franco Benitez to add a second before a clipped finish over the keeper made it 3-0.

"He’s [Baker] got two goals now and it was a great finish on a bobbly pitch, so credit to him," he added. 

"We have a good partnership in there, we’ve played together for so long that I know where he is on the pitch without looking.

"For my first goal, I always believe in my physicality, and if he [Benitez] wanted to come together, I knew I’d come out on top.

"The boys were saying that I could’ve squared it to them, but I took a shot and was pleased to see it go in.

"For the second one, I made a run in behind and Duncan [Watmore] saw me and it was great pass. I had a look at the keeper and he was coming out fast so I just had to get under the ball and it just went in the top corner."

Ruben Loftus-Cheek lifts a shot over the keeper to score his second against Paraguay

Loftus-Cheek chips home England's second goal against Paraguay

The squad will now prepare for Friday’s game with Japan in Toulon, knowing that a draw or win from that game will be enough to confirm their place in the final.

And that means Southgate will utilise his players with a view to entering Sunday’s game with a fully refreshed group.

"That’s the good thing about this squad, we’ve got so much strength in depth that we don’t have a weak team so that’s great for us and good for our confidence," claimed Loftus-Cheek.

"We’ll go in against Japan wanting to win and we’ll prepare for the Final."

By FA Staff