Ruben Loftus-Cheek "really happy" with England debut

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Winning your first cap for your country is a special moment in any player's career, but Southgate went out of his way to make it all the more special for his young troops.

Gareth Southgate's England squad had been crippled with injuries in the run-up to the friendly and it gave the former England Under-21 boss the opportunity to hand some of his former starlets a chance.

'It could have been better.

Loftus-Cheek, 21, who has been outstanding since joining Crystal Palace on loan for the season from Chelsea in the summer, said: "I'm really happy". 'It was good for us young players and I certainly learned a lot so it's been a good night.

Dier, 23, wore the captain's armband in the global friendly clash that finished 0-0 at Wembley, and although it was a goalless game, it definitely gave some encouragement ahead of the World Cup in Russian Federation next summer as Gareth Southgate was forced to field a second-string side.

Midfield partner and captain on the night Eric Dier felt a youthful England side had offered a promising glimpse of the future.

"I think there was a freshness and energy about it".

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According to Henry Winter of The Times, Arsenal legend and former England worldwide Ian Wright came into the dressing room before the game and handed the debutants their shirts, at Southgate's request.

'I think he needs that confidence because he's capable of anything. He has been a top performer in our junior teams for a long time.

'He's got the physical attributes and he can handle the ball.

He said: "Loftus-Cheek is a player I've watched do that since U16 level, and despite his size and appearance and the way he plays, he's not hugely confident at times".

"If we'd won it would have been better, but it was a tough game, and a good game from me to learn from".

'Room for improvement but I felt a really healthy performance'.

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