Ruben Loftus-Cheek's chances of playing his way into England squad contention for this summer's World Cup have been dealt a further injury blow.
The Crystal Palace ace - who is on a season-long loan from reigning Premier League champions Chelsea - has been hit by another complication in his first training session back from a two month ankle injury absence.
The Guardian understands that Loftus-Cheek felt pain in his knee as he took part in a full training drill for the first time since 28th December at his parent club, following successful treatment on his initial problem.
However, after training alongside Chelsea's Under-23s squad on Monday he complained of feeling discomfort in his knee - an issue which has delayed his return to the fold for the Eagles.
Palace boss Roy Hodgson confirmed as much in his pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend's contest against Manchester United and explained he still held out hope of seeing the midfielder back in action soon.
Hodgson said: “The news had been very positive because the session, in which the ankle was being tested, had gone very well, but he managed to pick up another very minor injury which now, of course, has to be treated before we get him back here.
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"The good news is that the injury which kept him out for a long period of time – the ankle – seems to be much better. He is on the mend from that.
"But they now have to look at the minor injury [to the knee]. We are hopeful we see him back at Selhurst Park very soon.”
Loftus-Cheek had impressed England manager Gareth Southgate in the stalemates with Germany and Brazil in November during his first senior caps for the Three Lions.
The 22-year-old, though, faces a race against time to get fully fit and be playing well for the relegation-threatened Eagles if he harbours hopes of being on the plan to Russia.
Palace will hope to have Loftus-Cheek back available for the 31st March clash with Liverpool but that will depend on how his treatment on this new injury goes.