Roy Hodgson has confirmed that Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s injury is worse than first thought, and is ruled out of Saturday afternoon’s clash at north London rivals Arsenal.
The 21-year-old has not played since he was substituted in the latter stages of the narrow defeat to Arsenal on December 28.
He was originally expected to be out for a matter of weeks. However, Hodgson has admitted the midfielder may require “stronger intervention” on his ankle, and described the news as a “major concern”.
"The injury is more severe than we originally thought it would be," Hodgson said. “It has not responded to the conservative treatment of rest that he has been having. The treatment has to continue along this conservative line and then in a few weeks’ time we will assess it again. If it is still not working by that time it will be five or six weeks since he last played against Arsenal. Then we'll also be in a situation where people will have to look at it and say 'well, is this conservative treatment where he just rests, working, or are we going to need a stronger intervention?’"
He added: "It's obviously a longer injury than we were hoping it would be but there might be some very, very important games again this season when he might be fully fit and ready to play.”
The manager also confirmed Yohan Cabaye and Joel Ward are in contention for selection against Arsenal, but Andros Townsend is unlikely to feature following an injury sustained in the FA Cup clash with Brighton & Hove Albion. Mamadou Sakho and Jeffrey Schlupp remain sidelined.
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