Ruben Loftus-Cheek admits injury nearly ruined his World Cup dream.

The Chelsea midfielder, who starred for Crystal Palace on loan last season, picked up an ankle problem in December which kept him out for almost three months.

But Loftus-Cheek returned to action in March to help the Eagles avoid relegation - and his impressive form won him a place in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man World Cup squad.

The 22-year-old, who made his England debut against Germany in November, said: “It was a blow to come off against Brazil.

“I was really excited to play again at Wembley for England. It's unfortunate, but it happens in football.

“But I ended up playing the weekend after for Palace and my back felt all right, so I was delighted with that.

“Then the blow to my ankle came and I was very disappointed with that after I'd been playing well, I wanted to carry things on.

“It did give me doubts about this summer and that I'd give my best and work hard to get back.

“Originally, I thought that was my season done, but I got back quicker than expected, so I think I was able to play the last six, seven games and that was really good.”

Loftus-Cheek is set to link up with the Chelsea squad after this summer’s World Cup.

But his playing future is still up in the air with Palace keen to re-sign him on loan.

He added: “I'm not thinking about that too much, to be honest.

“I'm trying to focus on this summer and what's to come because I think this tournament is too big to be overlooked and not give my full focus.

“So, right now my mind is on that, but I am back at Chelsea for pre-season anyway.

“After the World Cup that's where I will be, and I will decide when that time comes.”