Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson would be interested in taking Ruben Loftus-Cheek back to the club on loan should he be made available by Chelsea in January.
The England midfielder has made just two substitute appearances for the Blues this season under new boss Maurizio Sarri.
Loftus-Cheek, 22, had impressed during his loan spell with the Eagles last term, which saw him go on to make Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.
The midfielder made his first start of the season for England against Switzerland, but picked up a foot injury and now faces two weeks out.
Hodgson knows it is a hypothetical subject at the moment, but revealed it would be something which Palace would perhaps revisit if the situation ever presented itself again.
“I’ve answered this question before (on potentially re-signing Loftus-Cheek). I can’t answer the question ‘is that something you’re looking at’ because how can I look at it? He is a Chelsea player,” Hodgson said, quoted by several national newspapers.
“I have no idea if he is going to be available in January, so what can I look at?
“If the question was ‘should Ruben Loftus-Cheek be made available in January, would Crystal Palace be interested in loaning him again?’ then the answer is ‘yes’.”
And Loftus-Cheek himself left the door open on a return to Selhurst Park when quizzed earlier this week.
When asked whether he would consider temporarily returning he said: “Possibly but it is still far away, there are still a lot of games to play and I just have to see what happens.
“Right now I am at Chelsea and my focus is at Chelsea and learning at Chelsea. That is in the future and we will deal with that when it comes.”
Former England boss Hodgson rejects suggestions a lack of club game-time should influence whether a player features for the national team or not.
“What we did in the time with England was we believed in the quality of the players. We understood that they were at big clubs, and big-name players keep them out,” he said.
“The simple question to answer then is: ‘is this player, who is actually not playing at the moment, a better player than this one, who is English and is playing at the moment?’
“That will be a subject always of debate and it will be up to the national team manager to decide which road he goes down.”