Dele Alli should be benched for England’s World Cup opener against Tunisia, that is the opinion of former Stoke City star Danny Higginbotham.

Dele has been one of the Three Lions’ key players in the build-up to the World Cup and is a shoo-in to make the team for Monday’s clash at the Volgograd Arena, however Higginbotham believes Gareth Southgate should be bold and pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek instead, saying the Crystal Palace midfielder could be England’s secret weapon in Russia.

Higginbotham explained on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast on talkSPORT: “The reason I’m leaving out Dele Alli, I think he’s a fantastic player, but I just think I in a game like this the middle of the pitch of going to be compact and the second he gets on the ball he’s going to be crowded out: Higginbotham added.

He went on to say: “There’s going to be very little room between the midfield and the Tunisia defence and I think the physicality of someone like Loftus-Cheek, who can pick up the ball and leave players in his wake, would suit England.Also, if balls are coming into the box he’s got that licence to get in there and I think he’ll be more of a threat.

He added : “In most other games I’d have Dele Alli in there, I think he’s got unbelievable quality.But I just think from what Loftus-Cheek can bring to this game, against a team who will play really compact, I think he could actually be the match-winner for England.”

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