June 15, 2018 / 7:53 PM / a month ago

England's Loftus-Cheek talks down racism concerns

REPINO, Russia (Reuters) - England may have discussed the question of how to react if there are racist incidents at the World Cup but midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek says the issue is not on his mind.

Soccer Football - World Cup - England Press Conference - Saint Petersburg, Russia - June 15, 2018 England's Ruben Loftus-Cheek during the press conference REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

England full back Danny Rose recently revealed he had told his family not to travel to Russia due to his concerns over racism in the country.

“That’s Danny’s choice. I’m not thinking about it too much. If it happens we’ll deal with it but, looking ahead, I’m just going with the flow,” Loftus-Cheek said on Friday.

The Chelsea midfielder, who spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace and has just four caps for England, said his focus was on enjoying the best possible preparation for England’s opening game against Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday.

“Training has always been top level,” he said. “No matter if it’s at a World Cup or not, training’s been really good and at a high level.

“We’re looking forward to the first game and I’m sure whoever starts will be ready and whoever is on the bench will be ready as well.”

Loftus-Cheek is likely to start among the substitutes but his strength on the ball and ability to run at opposition defences make him a tempting option from the bench.

But so far he says there has been no news from manager Gareth Southgate about the starting line-up.

“We’ve just started to go over tactics, meetings and analysing the first game. I expect there will be a lot more of that in the next couple of days,” he said.

“We might have to wait until game day (to find out who starts) but who knows?”

The 22-year-old said he was not agitated by not yet knowing yet which eleven will start.

“It’s different for different players,” he said, when asked if he would like to know earlier.

“I’m not too bothered but if I had to choose I’d like to know earlier so you can get your head around it,” he said.

Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Ian Chadband

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