Southgate underlines Alli’s importance

According to The Independent Gareth Southgate insists that Dele Alli is still an important part of England’s plans, despite being left out of the starting line-up for both of their friendlies this week.

Dele did not feature at all in the 1-1 draw against Italy at Wembley on Tuesday evening and played just 22 minutes against Holland on Friday. In his absence, both Manchester United star Jesse Lingard and Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain advanced their cases with strong performances in the two games.

However despite singling out both Chamberlain and Lingard for particular praise after the game, Southgate said that Alli remained an “important player” for England, and that he would have appeared as a substitute had John Stones not gone off with a head injury.

“He’s very important to us,”: Southgate said. “In training he’s not been able to finish all of the sessions, with the little problem he’s had. We wanted to get Adam [Lallana] in, and give Lewis [Cook] some time as well, and then losing John, I didn’t want to make any more changes. But of course Dele always wants to play, and he’ll be disappointed, of course.”

So one wonders why he was left with England if he’s 100% fit. Thankfully Southgate didn’t risk him and England were preparing at Hotspur Way all week so perhaps the England manager was inadvertently asked not to risk him.

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