By 90Min
May 11, 2018

Crystal Palace loan star Ruben Loftus-Cheek has revealed how he honed his footballing skills as a youngster, playing back home in Swanley, Kent.

The combative midfielder has revealed he played football with friends inside a local football cage, with that confined space helping to develop his skills and mould him into the player he is today, as reported by the Daily Mail.

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Loftus-Cheek was playing football in the park with friends when a local councillor approached them and asked what kind of sports facility they wanted to be built.

"They said we could have a basketball court or a football cage," recalls the England midfielder. "At the time we were all into that FIFA Street game, you know the one with Peter Crouch, so we went for the cage."

The cage was subsequently built less than 100 yards away from his home, with the England midfielder revealing his abilities were developed as much inside that cage as they were at Chelsea's academy, which he joined at the age of eight.

"I was in that cage all the time, even after I'd played a game for Chelsea," the 22-year-old explained. "You have so much energy as a kid and I'd get home and head straight over there and play. 

"It was often against much bigger kids, so it was good for practising technique. I was good with the ball, and keeping the ball. I've always been that type of player.

GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

"We'd train [with Chelsea] after school on a Tuesday and Thursday and we used to do this circuit and it was all about technique.

"We did that for years, working on both feet. I enjoyed it there. There's a video on my Instagram of me training with the under nines when Jose Mourinho came to watch us. You see me running over to him with a water bottle in my hand. I was tiny. No more than average height then."

From those humble beginnings, Loftus-Cheek has developed into one of England's finest midfield prospects for the upcoming World Cup and future international ventures.

With a Premier League winners medal already in his trophy cabinet, and a trip to Russia with England potentially on the cards this summer, the skills Loftus-Cheek learned in that cage have certainly served him well.

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