Did a bracelet allow Dele Alli to play in the World Cup knockouts?

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Every footballer has their own set of superstitions, but Dele Alli may be the only one who has picked up his lucky charm in the back of a Russian taxi.

Alli suffered a thigh strain in England’s opening game against Tunisia, and feared the worst as he hopped into a taxi for the 45 minute journey to a nearby hospital for a scan.

Dele recalled: “As I got out, the taxi driver gave me a bracelet and said it was for good luck. So I’ve kept it. I don’t wear it, but I keep it in my washbag.”

The scan revealed that there was no serious injury, and Alli was able to regain fitness and play a part in the knockout stages for England.

The bracelet joins an already long list of pre-match superstitions for the young England man, including an eight-minute ice-bath before a game, a small piece of tape placed on his left knee, and wearing the same shin pads since he was 11.

As he left the Tottenham training ground for England’s St George’s park, Alli told Standard Sport how different it would be this time around.

“It’ll be good to see all of the boys again. Last time after the Euros, you didn’t really want to look into it too much, but we knew we had to talk about the last-16 defeat to Iceland to get over it.

“We had to go through the pain again, open up some wounds and deal with them. This time, there are a lot of positives to take, so it should be fun to look back on. I’m sure it’ll feel completely different, as players now are excited about what is possible.

“Hopefully, for the fans, the way the country came together, they will stick by us over the next two years, into the next tournament and beyond. Their support was amazing. It really did help the team mentally. When you see the things happening back home, it really does make you happy and you enjoy your time more while you are there.

“Looking forward, we have to keep believing in ourselves and not get carried away because there are some very good teams out there.

“We have to be ready to come up against anyone and play as well as we now know we can.”

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