In the latest Crystal Palace news, Ruben Loftus-Cheek hopes a strong end to the season can help him earn a World Cup place with England.
The midfielder joined the Eagles on loan in the summer from Chelsea and impressed enough to earn international recognition, appearing in the November games against both Germany and Brazil.
However, an ankle injury forced him to miss the best part of three months of the season, with uncertainty over the severity of the problem hindering his comeback.
After deciding against surgery, Loftus-Cheek struggled to respond to treatment but eventually showed signs of improvement and finally returned in the recent win at Huddersfield.
The 22-year-old’s absence coincided with a number of Palace’s stars being sidelined and they subsequently fell down the standings.
Loftus-Cheek could well start against the Reds and although he admits his World Cup hopes are slim, the playmaker feels a strong run of form in his side’s survival push can only help his chances.
“Of course the World Cup has been in the back of my mind,” he told Standard Sport. “It was either surgery or try and let it heal by itself. It was tough but I knew if I got back I could get into the World Cup squad.
“There was a period when it just did not feel like it was getting better and I was wondering how long it was going to take. But we made the decision that we would go with the conservative route and after a couple of weeks it did start to feel better.
“I am back now and raring to go. Right now I am focused on Palace, playing well and I have got seven games to get as much playing time as possible.”