Ruben Loftus-Cheek: I don't want to be compared with Dele Alli anymore
Crystal Palace midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has rejected comparisons with Dele Alli, insisting he is a "completely different" player to the Tottenham man.
Loftus-Cheek, 21, who is on loan from Chelsea, and Spurs' Alli, 21, are childhood friends and their opposing career trajectories have often been used to highlight the different approaches to youth development between the London rivals.
While Alli, who joined Tottenham from League One side MK Dons, is now an England regular and scored twice against Real Madrid in the Champions League last week, his older friend is only just finding his feet in the Premier League after struggling for opportunities at Chelsea.
Loftus-Cheek earned his first England call-up for Friday's friendly against Germany and the meeting with Brazil four days later and he may be tasked with replacing the injured Alli, but the Chelsea loanee said comparisons between the pair were unhelpful.
"I definitely don't want to be compared with Dele anymore," he is quoted as saying by the Evening Standard. "Everyone's journey is different in football, no one's the same. We are completely different players. To compare players at different stages in their career shouldn't happen.
"I haven't spoken to Dele since I was called up by England. I was hoping to see him at the weekend when Crystal Palace played Tottenham but he was up in the stands and injured.
"I was looking forward to playing against him, but unfortunately he wasn't fit. He is a massive miss for England, but hopefully, we will play together for England one day very soon."
Loftus-Cheek has already made as many Premier League starts in three months at Palace as in his entire Chelsea career, but the youngster was reluctant to comment on his future.
"I don't know," he said when asked if he would return to Chelsea after his loan spell. "I'm really focused on what's happening now and right now I'm at Crystal Palace.
"I'm fully committed to Palace, so all my focus is on them and improving my game. So whatever happens in the future is in the future."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.