Former England manager Roy Hodgson has claimed that Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be a better than former Blues midfielder Michael Ballack.
The 22-year-old, who is Chelsea academy graduate, has spent the 2017-18 season at Crystal Palace under Hodgson on loan deal.
The England international, who scored two goals and three assists in 25 appearances for the Eagles last season, is now in Russia for the World Cup duty.
Hodgson believes that Loftus-Cheek shares similar attributes to Ballack but has revealed that the youngster could be better than the former Chelsea and Germany midfielder.
“I think Ruben’s internal midfield play is something that makes him very versatile,” Hodgson told the Daily Mail.
“I don’t know what his best position is. It really depends on how teams want to play.”
“I’d say he goes by people more than Ballack did. But I think he’s got Ballack’s power and his pace and his strength – he’s definitely got that.”
“But he’s maybe got more strings to his bow than even Ballack had. That’s a bold thing to say, I know, but he’s so good at going past people. He’s got that deceptive turn of pace.”
“In that way he’s a bit like Jack Wilshere really. That ability to receive a ball in tight situations and then come out very quickly on the other side and open a game up.”
Loftus-Cheek, who received his first call-up to the England senior squad in November 2017, has since made five appearances for the Three Lions.
The young midfielder, who also made 32 appearances for Chelsea first team, is expected to start for England against Panama on this Sunday in their second game of Group G.