England’s careful management of Dele Alli ensured that he had two weeks to recover from the injury sustained in their opening World Cup 2018 match against Tunisia before he was required to start the Round of 16 against Colombia.
Unfortunately, that extended recovery period did not appear to have been long enough as the Tottenham ace – valued at £90m by Transfermarkt – struggled in the face of the South Americans’ roughhouse tactics, not looking 100 per cent fit.
Too many flicks around the corner went nowhere on a night when Jose Pekerman’s approach of playing three deep central midfielders served to stifle Alli, as well as his fellow number 10s Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling.
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Just as against Tunisia, there was a sense that Southgate left the ineffective Alli on for too long before eventually electing to send Eric Dier on in an attempt to secure a narrow victory.
So, we’re asking you, should Alli be dropped for the crunch clash against Sweden on Saturday, with the likes of Chelsea ace Ruben Loftus-Cheek waiting in the wings, having impressed at this World Cup?
The Blues man knows his future may lie elsewhere but has simply performed better than Alli so far out in Russia.
It is also worth remembering that Alli didn’t feature in the system during the March friendlies when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was fit, so Southgate is not afraid to utilise this 3-5-2 system without the Tottenham playmaker.
Or should Southgate keep the faith? Let us know by voting in the poll below and keep your eyes peeled for the results on the day of the match…