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Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek vows England will do it for Ray Wilkins

12:19 am, 16th June 2018

Wilkins, who died at the age of 61 in April, had a career which saw him win 84 England caps, lead the side on 10 occasions and spend more than four decades playing and coaching at the highest level.

Loftus-Cheek met him as a teenage prospect at Chelsea, during Wilkins’ stint as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant, and has never forgotten the older man’s influence, having been thrown in the deep end aged 14 alongside one of Chelsea’s greatest modern day players.

“All these games we play here and how far we get, we do it for Ray,” Loftus-Cheek said on behalf of himself and fellow Blue Gary Cahill.

“He’s been such an icon for Chelsea and the game of football. I think a lot of players will miss him. For sure, we’ll do it for him.

“I was on something called day release, we left school and did some learning at Cobham, at training,” he recalled.

“I was about to go home and Neil Bath, the academy manager, said, ‘You’re not going home, you’re training with the first team’.

“I couldn’t wait to get going. I was obviously nervous but then Wilkins paired me up with Didier Drogba in a one-on-one drill. I was just really excited to get home and tell my parents.”

England kick off their campaign on Monday against Tunisia in a Group G match.