Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek is one of the best players Roy Hodgson has ever worked with

Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek is one of the best players Roy Hodgson has ever worked with

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has branded Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek as one of the best players he has worked with following the midfielder’s World Cup selection for England

Loftus-Cheek, 22, has impressed immensely in south London since joining the Eagles on loan from Chelsea, helping secure the club’s Premier League status following an abysmal start to the season under then-manager Frank De Boer.

And despite suffering a three month injury lay-off, the midfielder has been a vital part of Hodgson’s team when available, earning a call-up to the Three Lions’ squad for the World Cup this summer as a result.

In a managerial career that has spanned over 42 years, Hodgson has coached some of the continent’s finest clubs, including Inter Milan and Liverpool, but he believes Loftus-Cheek sits among the best he has seen.

Hodgson told the Times: “He has got all the qualities you are looking for in a central midfielder.

“In the games he has played [at Crystal Palace], he has been almost our best player in every one of them.

“We have Wilfried Zaha of course, but he has certainly been on his coat-tails. I have not worked with many players better than Ruben Loftus-Cheek and what he can be.

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

Loftus-Cheek received his first international cap in November as he put in a man of the match performance against Germany, but unfortunately he suffered an injury set-back against Brazil in his second appearance for the national side.

One player who has missed out on Gareth Southgate’s squad for Russia next month as a result of Loftus-Cheek’s inclusion is Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.

Hodgson used to manage Wilshere during his time in charge of England, and while the 70-year-old lauds the midfielder’s creative ability, he admits a number of players have flourished during Wilshere’s absence from the national side.

He continued: “He has been unlucky because there are players who have blossomed and done well in his absence.

“But there is no doubt he is a special player. Players who can show that control and eliminate players like Jack can, they are very hard to find.

“I am sorry that he hasn’t found a place, but I understand for Gareth he has been quite blessed with the emergence of players like Dele Alli and Loftus-Cheek.”

In total Loftus-Cheek made 25 appearances for the Selhurst Park club this season, scoring two goals, while assisting his teammates on three occasions, as he often occupied an unfamiliar wide role for the club.