EPL

Southgate disappointed for injured Loftus-Cheek

By Sports Desk May 16, 2019

Gareth Southgate is disappointed Ruben Loftus-Cheek cannot play for England in the Nations League Finals.

Loftus-Cheek has had a breakthrough season but faces a long spell on the sidelines after reportedly rupturing his Achilles during a friendly in the United States.

Despite being set to face Arsenal in the Europa League final, Chelsea headed to Massachusetts to take on New England Revolution this week and Loftus-Cheek will subsequently miss England's first shot at international glory since winning the World Cup in 1966.

Southgate confirmed the midfielder, along with Chelsea team-mate Callum Hudson-Odoi, would have been in the squad - which he will finalise on May 27 - had he been fit.

"We will find out more about a couple of players in that period and then I am going to have to make a couple of decisions," Southgate told reporters. 

"But we can change if we have injuries after that date. Frankly there is every chance that is going to happen.

"We have just got to make the best possible decisions really with the information that we have. It is constantly moving.

"I went to bed last night and Ruben is in the squad and playing brilliantly and now it is a huge disappointment for him. He misses now a major European final and a brilliant opportunity with us.

"In particular he has really come on in the last few months and looked strong and playing with a lot of confidence and I am really disappointed for him in particular."

While Loftus-Cheek missed out, Harry Kane is in the squad despite having been out of action for six weeks with an ankle injury.

Kane is stepping up his rehabilitation in the hope of being fit to play for Tottenham against Liverpool in the Champions League final on June 1.

The striker is one of nine Liverpool and Tottenham players included in Southgate's initial 27-man selection who could be involved in Madrid.

"That's one of the unknowns," Southgate said of captain Kane, who won the Golden Boot at the World Cup.

"He's working to be fit for the [Champions League] final. We are keeping that door open. We are going to look post-Champions League final.

"There is the physical aspect and emotional aspect of that final that we have to look at.

"I don't think we have had a time where we haven't had a lot of pull-outs but we have a really strong squad. We will know more by that date [May 27] but we can make changes after that date."

England face Netherlands in the Nations League semi-final in Guimaraes on June 6, just five days after the Champions League final, with Switzerland taking on Portugal in the other last-four clash.

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