Having got another 45 minutes under his belt against West Bromwich Albion, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is happy that he is gradually building up his playing time in a Palace shirt as he attempts to catch up with the rest of the Eagles’ first-team squad.
The summer arrival from Chelsea played the first half of the 2-0 win against the Baggies that brought Palace’s Premier League Asia trophy campaign to a close, and having started his pre-season later than the rest of his new teammates, he was pleased that he could add to his 13-minute cameo against Liverpool three days earlier.
“I really enjoyed it, I was keen to get out there and get some fitness and minutes in,” he said after the Albion match. “I think it was a good performance as well so I’m really happy.
“I feel good; I came back a bit later than most of the squad so I had to build up slowly and gradually get some more minutes. For me, it was a good improvement today.”
The game was a feisty encounter with plenty of tough tackles in the middle in the park, but Loftus-Cheek impressed with his willingness to get stuck into it, and he believes that will be a key factor towards how successful the club’s campaign is this year.
“In midfield you have to battle if necessary,” he said. “In a lot of ways you have to battle and also be technical and keep the ball, and for Palace battling is going to be a foundation for us to work off.”
The Eagles fly back to London on Sunday after spending a week in Hong Kong, and Loftus-Cheek has enjoyed his time on tour bonding with his new squad, and believes he’s now firmly settled into the group and ready for the bigger challenges that lie ahead.
On the trip, he said: “I’ve really enjoyed it; they’re a good bunch of lads who are funny and have great personalities so I’m really looking forward to the season as I’ve settled in really well.”