Paul Merson poses England question about Chelsea midfielder

The Arsenal legend is surprised Ruben Loftus-Cheek didn't get an England call under Gareth Southgate

Paul Merson has expressed his surprise that interim England manager Gareth Southgate didn’t give Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek a place in his first Three Lions squad.

The 20-year-old was a regular in the England Under-21 set-up under Southgate despite his stalling Chelsea career following a series of managerial changes at Stamford Bridge.

Southgate was handed the England job for the Three Lions’ next four games after having led the Under-21 side to glory in the Toulon Tournament earlier this summer.

Former Arsenal and England midfielder Merson was surprised that Southgate didn’t seize the chance to give Loftus-Cheek a taster of the senior squad this week.

“Why isn’t Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the squad? It’s Malta,” Merson wrote in his Daily Star column.

“You can experiment. I reckon a lot of the under 21s thought they had a chance of getting in considering it was Gareth, their old boss.”

Loftus-Cheek was part of the England Under-21 squad that won the Toulon Tournament.

The Chelsea youngster has scored two goals in 23 appearances in all competitions for the west London side over the past three seasons.

The Blues appointed former Italy and Juventus head coach Antonio Conte as Guus Hiddink’s permanent successor earlier this summer.

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