Does Ruben Loftus-Cheek have a future at Chelsea?
By Adam Shergold for MailOnline
Published: 06:41 EST, 11 November 2017 | Updated: 08:25 EST, 11 Nov..
By Adam Shergold for MailOnline
Published: 06:41 EST, 11 November 2017 | Updated: 08:25 EST, 11 November 2017
It was another night to encourage the belief that the English kids are all right.
The under-17 squad paraded the World Cup they won so spectacularly out in India a fortnight ago, lapping up the cheers and applause of the Wembley crowd when they trooped out in tracksuits to the centre circle at half-time.
And there was another masterstroke from Gareth Southgate, too, a month on from the well-received induction of Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks into the senior fold.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek enjoyed an impressive debut in England's goalless draw with Germany
England manager Gareth Southgate was vindicated in his decision to bring Loftus-Cheek in
This time, England's star performer was 21-year-old Ruben Loftus-Cheek — of Chelsea officially but Crystal Palace currently — who took his first-team debut against world champions Germany effortlessly in his long and languid stride.
There are plenty who'll never be fully sold on Southgate, the Football Association's smartly-blazered company man who will steer clear of controversy and tow the party line.
But a career pathway that included three years as England's under-21 manager is unquestionably starting to bear fruit.
Nobody is better placed than Southgate to understand the strengths and limitations of the emerging generation of English players and, by extension, of how to successfully bring them through to the senior international arena.
So when a succession of injury withdrawals from his squad left Southgate short-staffed in midfield, he knew precisely who would embrace the challenge of taking on Germany and who would shrink under the Wembley lights.
It was an all-action performance by the Chelsea player as England held the world champions
The highlight of Loftus-Cheek's performance was this nutmeg on Marcel Halstenberg
Loftus-Cheek stood out in Friday night's goalless stalemate and his man of the match performance undoubtedly propelled him into Southgate's thinking for next summer's World Cup.
His emergence, hot on the heels of Winks, came at a perfect time for England, whose options in the midfield engine room were beginning to look depressingly stale.
The partnership between Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier at the base of midfield had faded, Ross Barkley had gone the same way as Jack Wilshere, while Dele Alli was becoming over-relied on.
Yet this weekend Southgate will feel a whole lot happier with the situation after Loftus-Cheek's successful senior bow, because the Chelsea kid can play either as a defensive midfielder, a central midfielder, or the cherished No 10 role.
Of course, we shouldn't get too carried away. Such has been the stunted growth of Loftus-Cheek at Chelsea – yet another victim of the bottleneck between academy and first team there – he has only started 12 Premier League games in his career.
Six of those have been during the loan spell at Palace this season he so desperately needed.
Loftus-Cheek tries to get the better of Germany duo Ilkay Gundogan and Antonio Rudiger
Loftus-Cheek plays the ball past Germany midfielder Emre Can during the Wembley match
By contrast, Leroy Sane on the German team is the same age and has played in 57 top-level matches for Schalke in the Bundesliga and Manchester City in the Premier League.
Yet Loftus-Cheek grabbed the No 10 shirt on Friday night and all the responsibilities that come with it.
He played with the confidence of a man with 50 caps, touching the ball more than any other attack-minded England player and successfully completing 96 per cent of his passes.
He stroked passes around with the same unhurried assurance he showed in countless youth and reserve matches for Chelsea over the past five years and never looked flustered when under the German press.
The highlight came when he slipped the ball through the legs of Sane and then two long strides later did exactly the same to fellow debutant Marcel Halstenberg.
It drew cheers from the Wembley crowd, a temporary distraction from the game of trying to throw the t-shirts given away for the pre-match remembrance mosaic onto the pitch.
The Crystal Palace loanee was named man of the match following an impressive debut
The midfielder collects his bottle of champagne after receiving the man of the match award
Loftus-Cheek also released Jamie Vardy with a through ball and he might have scored himself late in the first-half when the ball was fizzed to his feet.
Confidence high, his second-half was even better, with more incisive passing on display.
This No 10 role was the one he fulfilled for Palace at the start of the season, but when Frank de Boer's expression was replaced by Roy Hodgson's pragmatism after a dreadful start, we're seen Loftus-Cheek play wide on the right.
This is in order to accommodate Yohan Cabaye in a 4-4-2 set-up and provide Palace with greater stability.
Loftus-Cheek is, of course, more than capable of playing there as his 6ft 3in frame and long stride enable him to turn on the burners and breeze past defenders.
But the central role is undoubtedly where he feels most at home and Ian Wright, working as a pundit for ITV on Friday night, claimed Loftus-Cheek is superior to Chelsea's £40m midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.
Loftus-Cheek plays a pass while surrounded by Germany players during Friday night's game
The midfielder rises highest to try and head a cross towards goal during the second-half
'I watched Bakayoko the other day up front or playing further forward against Manchester United and he never done anything in that game that made me think that he's a better player than Loftus-Cheek,' Wright said.
'Now I'm not knocking Chelsea because Chelsea can do whatever they want but the fact is that surely you've got to give the guy a chance. I've seen him and he's better than Bakayoko for me.'
The stats from the Premier League this season suggest Loftus-Cheek has been more than a match for Bakayoko, with a superior passing accuracy, more dribbles and more chances created, all from over 200 minutes less on the pitch.
But even if Loftus-Cheek enjoys a stellar season with Palace and is recalled to Chelsea next summer, he will face intense competition for the central midfield slots.
Bakayoko is but one of the options at Antonio Conte's disposal, with N'Golo Kante the first choice in the defensive midfield role. Further forward, you have Cesc Fabregas and Danny Drinkwater to contend with.
Ian Wright believes Ruben Loftus-Cheek should be back at Chelsea and playing for them
Tiemoue Bakayoko (left) joined Chelsea for £40million from Ligue 1 champions Monaco
|Premier League matches in 2017-18||Bakayoko||Loftus-Cheek|
|Shots, Total (inc. Blocks)||11||9|
|Shots, on Target||2||0|
|Shot Conversion Rate (inc. Blocks)||9.09||0|
|Chances Created (inc. assists)||6||10|
|Courtesy of Opta|
Loftus-Cheek has improved during his loan spell at Crystal Palace this season
Loftus-Cheek plays for Palace in their Premier League fixture against Liverpool in August
And even if Loftus-Cheek was to develop into an accomplished right winger at Palace, he would have to push ahead of Willian and Pedro in the pecking order next season.
Unfortunately for Loftus-Cheek – and Southgate – it is difficult to envisage how he fits in at Chelsea, who have an abundance of both creative and defensive talent in midfield and will quite happily spend big to get more.
The ongoing uncertainty over which is Loftus-Cheek's best position doesn't necessarily play in his favour at Chelsea either – it is better to be the first choice in one position than third choice in three.
In the meantime, Loftus-Cheek will remain at Selhurst Park for the remainder of the season. He can only do himself more credit by continuing to perform well in their first against relegation to the Championship.
It's almost certain now that further opportunities await him for England and a place in the World Cup squad is most definitely within his grasp.
But as so many youngsters have realised, chances at Chelsea may be few and far between.
Loftus-Cheek scored one of his two goals for Chelsea against Scunthorpe in the FA Cup
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Why Australia decided to quit its vaping habit
He’s talking about students in his class, teenagers, who can’t stop vaping.
He sees the effect of the candy-flavoured, nicotine-packed e-cigarettes on young minds every day, with children even vaping in class.
“The ones who are deepest into it will just get up out of their seat, or they’ll be fidgeting or nervous. The worst offenders will just walk out because they’re literally in withdrawal.”
Those who are most addicted need nicotine patches or rehabilitation, he says, talking about 13 and 14-year-olds.
is enough and introduced a range of new restrictions. Despite vapes already being illegal for many, under new legislation they will become available by prescription only.
The number of vaping teenagers in Australia has soared in recent years and authorities say it is the “number one behavioural issue” in schools across the country.
And they blame disposable vapes – which some experts say could be more addictive than heroin and cocaine – but for now are available in Australia in every convenience store, next to the chocolate bars at the counter.
For concerned teachers like Chris, their hands have been tied.
“If we suspect they have a vape, all we can really do is tell them to go to the principal’s office.
“At my old school, my head teacher told me he wanted to install vape detector alarms in the toilet, but apparently we weren’t allowed to because that would be an invasion of privacy.”
E-cigarettes have been sold as a safer alternative to tobacco, as they do not produce tar – the primary cause of lung cancer.
Some countries continue to promote them with public health initiatives to help cigarette smokers switch to a less deadly habit.
Last month, the UK government announced plans to hand out free vaping starter kits to one million smokers in England to get smoking rates below 5% by 2030.
But Australia’s government says that evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers quit is insufficient for now. Instead, research shows it may push young vapers into taking up smoking later in life.
Vapes, or e-cigarettes, are lithium battery-powered devices that have cartridges filled with liquids containing nicotine, artificial flavourings, and other chemicals.
The liquid is heated and turned into a vapour and inhaled into the user’s lungs.
Vaping took off from the mid-2000s and there were some 81 million vapers worldwide in 2021, according to the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction group.
Fuelling the rise is the mushrooming popularity of flavoured vapes designed to appeal to the young.
These products can contain far higher volumes of nicotine than regular cigarettes, while some devices sold as ‘nicotine-free’ can actually hold large amounts.
The chemical cocktail also contains formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde – which have been linked to lung disease, heart disease, and cancer.
There’s also a suggestion of an increased risk of stroke, respiratory infection, and impaired lung function.
Experts warn not enough is known about the long-term health effects. But some alarming data has already been drawn out.
In 2020, US health authorities identified more than 2,800 cases of e-cigarette or vaping-related lung injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 68 deaths attributed to that injury.
In Australia, a major study by leading charity The Cancer Council found more than half of all children who had ever vaped had used an e-cigarette they knew contained nicotine and thought that vaping was a socially acceptable behaviour.
School-age children were being supplied with e-cigarettes through friends or “dealers” inside and outside school, or from convenience stores and tobacconists, the report said.
Teens also reported purchasing vapes through social media, websites and at pop-up vape stores, the Generation Vape project found.
“Whichever way teenagers obtain e-cigarettes, they are all illegal, yet it’s happening under the noses of federal and state authorities”, report author and Cancer Council chair Anita Dessaix said.
“All Australian governments say they’re committed to ensuring e-cigarettes are only accessed by smokers with a prescription trying to quit – yet a crisis in youth e-cigarette use is unfolding in plain view.”
In addition to the government’s move to ban the import of all non-pharmaceutical vaping products – meaning they can now only be bought with a prescription – all single-use disposable vapes will be made illegal.
The volume and concentration of nicotine in e-cigarettes will also be restricted, and both flavours and packaging must be plain and carrying warning labels.
But these new measures are not actually all that drastic, says public health physician Professor Emily Banks from the Australian National University.
“Australia is not an outlier. It is unique to have a prescription-only model, but other places actually ban them completely, and that includes almost all of Latin America, India, Thailand and Japan.”
‘We have been duped’
Health Minister Mark Butler said the new vaping regulations will close the “biggest loophole in Australian healthcare history”.
“Just like they did with smoking… ‘Big Tobacco’ has taken another addictive product, wrapped it in shiny packaging and added sweet flavours to create a new generation of nicotine addicts.”
“We have been duped”, he said.
Medical experts agree. Prof Banks argues that the promotion of e-cigarettes as a “healthier” alternative was a classic “sleight-of-hand” from the tobacco industry.
As such vaping has become “normalised” in Australia, and in the UK too.
“There’s over 17,000 flavours, and the majority of use is not for smoking cessation”, she tells the BBC.
“They’re being heavily marketed towards children and adolescents. People who are smoking and using e-cigarettes – that’s the most common pattern of use, dual use.”
Professor Banks says authorities need to “de-normalise” vaping among teenagers and make vapes much harder to get hold of.
“Kids are interpreting the fact that they can very easily get hold of [vapes] as evidence [they’re safe], and they’re actually saying, ‘well, if they were that unsafe, I wouldn’t be able to buy one at the coffee shop’.
But could stricter controls make it harder for people who do turn to vapes hoping to quit or cut down on tobacco?
“It is important to bear in mind that for some people, e-cigarettes have really helped. But we shouldn’t say ‘this is great for smokers to quit’, says Prof Banks.
“We know from
Australia, from the US, from Europe, that two-thirds to three-quarters of people who quit smoking successfully, do so unaided.”
“You’re trying to bring these [vapes] in saying they’re a great way to quit smoking, but actually we’ve got bubble gum flavoured vapes being used by 13-year-olds in the school toilets. That is not what the community signed up for.”
Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65522841
Australia: Scott Morrison saga casts scrutiny on Queen’s representative
In the past fortnight, Australia has been gripped by revelations that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to several additional ministries.
The move has been labelled a “power grab” by his successor as prime minister, and Mr Morrison has been scolded by many – even his own colleagues.
But the scandal has also dragged Australia’s governor-general into the fray – sparking one of the biggest controversies involving the Queen’s representative in Australia in 50 years.
So does Governor-General David Hurley have questions to answer, or is he just collateral damage?
Governors-general have fulfilled the practical duties as Australia’s head of state since the country’s 1901 federation.
Candidates for the role were initially chosen by the monarch but are now recommended by the Australian government.
The job is largely ceremonial – a governor-general in almost every circumstance must act on the advice of the government of the day. But conventions allow them the right to “encourage” and “warn” politicians.
Key duties include signing bills into law, issuing writs for elections, and swearing in ministers.
Mr Hurley has run into trouble on the latter. At Mr Morrison’s request, he swore the prime minister in as joint minister for health in March 2020, in case the existing minister became incapacitated by Covid.
Over the next 14 months, he also signed off Mr Morrison as an additional minister in the finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios.
Mr Morrison already had ministerial powers, so Mr Hurley was basically just giving him authority over extra departments.
It’s a request the governor-general “would not have any kind of power to override or reject”, constitutional law professor Anne Twomey tells the BBC.
“This wasn’t even a meeting between the prime minister and the governor-general, it was just paperwork.”
But Mr Morrison’s appointments were not publicly announced, disclosed to the parliament, or even communicated to most of the ministers he was job-sharing with.
Australia’s solicitor-general found Mr Morrison’s actions were not illegal but had “fundamentally undermined” responsible government.
But the governor-general had done the right thing, the solicitor-general said in his advice this week.
It would have been “a clear breach” for him to refuse the prime minister, regardless of whether he knew the appointments would be kept secret, Stephen Donaghue said.
Critics push for investigation
Ultimately, Mr Hurley had to sign off on Mr Morrison’s requests, but critics say he could have counselled him against it and he could have publicised it himself.
But representatives for the governor-general say these types of appointments – giving ministers the right to administer other departments – are not unusual.
And it falls to the government of the day to decide if they should be announced to the public. They often opt not to.
Mr Hurley himself announcing the appointments would be unprecedented. He had “no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated”, his spokesperson said.
Emeritus professor Jenny Hocking finds the suggestion Mr Hurley didn’t know the ministries had been kept secret “ridiculous”.
“The last of these bizarre, duplicated ministry appointments… were made more than a year after the first, so clearly by then the governor-general did know that they weren’t being made public,” she says.
“I don’t agree for a moment that the governor-general has a lot of things on his plate and might not have noticed.”
The historian says it’s one of the biggest controversies surrounding a governor-general since John Kerr caused a constitutional crisis by sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.
Prof Hocking famously fought for transparency around that matter – waging a lengthy and costly legal battle that culminated in the release of Mr Kerr’s correspondence with the Queen.
And she says the same transparency is needed here.
The Australian public need to know whether Mr Hurley counselled the prime minister against the moves, and why he didn’t disclose them
The government has already announced an inquiry into Mr Morrison’s actions, but she wants it to look at the governor-general and his office too.
“If the inquiry is to find out what happened in order to fix what happened, it would be extremely problematic to leave out a key part of that equation.”
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr Morrison’s predecessor – has also voiced support for an inquiry.
“Something has gone seriously wrong at Government House,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“It is the passive compliance along the chain… that did undermine our constitution and our democracy… that troubles me the most. This is how tyranny gets under way.”
PM defends governor-general
Prof Twomey says the criticism of Mr Hurley is unfair – there’s was no “conspiracy” on his part to keep things secret.
“I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to expect that he could have guessed that the prime minister was keeping things secret from his own ministers, for example.
“Nobody really thought that was a possibility until about two weeks ago.”
Even if he had taken the unprecedented step to publicise the appointments or to reject Mr Morrison’s request, he’d have been criticised, she says.
“There’d be even more people saying ‘how outrageous!'” she says. “The role of governor-general is awkward because people are going to attack you either way.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also defended Mr Hurley, saying he was just doing his job.
“I have no intention of undertaking any criticism of [him].”
A role fit for purpose?
Prof Hocking says it’s a timely moment to look at the role of the governor-general more broadly.
She points out it’s possible the Queen may have been informed about Mr Morrison’s extra ministries when Australia’s parliament and people were not.
“It does raise questions about whether this is fit for purpose, as we have for decades been a fully independent nation, but we still have… ‘the relics of colonialism’ alive and well.”
Momentum for a fresh referendum on an Australian republic has been growing and advocates have seized on the controversy.
“The idea that the Queen and her representative can be relied upon to uphold our system of government has been debunked once and for all,” the Australian Republic Movement’s Sandy Biar says.
“It’s time we had an Australian head of state, chosen by Australians and accountable to them to safeguard and uphold Australia’s constitution.”
But Prof Twomey says republicans are “clutching at straws” – under their proposals, the head of state would also have been bound to follow the prime minister’s advice.
“It wouldn’t result in any changes that would have made one iota of difference.”
Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-62683210
Australia election: PM Morrison’s security team in car crash in Tasmania
A car carrying the Australian prime minister’s security team has crashed in Tasmania during an election campaign visit.
Four police officers were taken to hospital with “non-life threatening injuries” after the car and another vehicle collided, authorities said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not in the car, but the accident prompted him to cancel the rest of his campaign events on Thursday.
The other driver involved was not hurt.
Tasmania Police said initial investigations suggested the second car had “collided with the rear of the police vehicle, while attempting to merge”. It caused the unmarked security vehicle to roll off the road.
The two Tasmania Police officers and two Australian Federal Police officers were conscious when taken to hospital for medical assessment, the prime minister’s office said.
“Family members of the officers have been contacted and are being kept informed of their condition,” a statement said.
“The PM is always extremely grateful for the protection provided by his security team and extends his best wishes for their recovery and to their families.”
Australians go to the polls on 21 May. Mr Morrison – prime minister since 2018 – is hoping to win his conservative coalition’s fourth term in office.
Polls suggest the opposition Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, is favoured to win. However, Mr Morrison defied similar polling to claim victory at the last election in 2019.
Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives – the minimum needed to retain power.
Political observers say the cost of living, climate change, trust in political leaders, and national security will be among key issues in the campaign.
In recent weeks, the prime minister has faced accusations of being a bully and once sabotaging a rival’s career by suggesting the man’s Lebanese heritage made him less electable. Mr Morrison has denied the allegations.
Mr Albanese stumbled into his own controversy this week when he failed to recall the nation’s unemployment or interest rates.
Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61103987
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