Gareth Southgate insists Dele Alli is in plans for England’s World Cup campaign despite the Tottenham star failing to make it off the bench against Italy on Tuesday.
The England manager revealed Alli has been struggling with a “little problem” and hasn’t been finishing training sessions with the rest of the group.
That problem is most likely related to the minor groin injury he picked up in Spurs’ Premier League win at Bournemouth earlier this month.
Alli limped off late on at the Vitality Stadium and didn’t start Tottenham’s following match, the FA Cup quarter-final victory at Swansea City.
The 21-year-old was then called up to play for the Three Lions, but he featured for only 22 minutes against the Netherlands and didn’t even get onto the pitch on Tuesday.
After the 1-1 draw at Wembley, Southgate explained why Alli didn’t appear.
“He’s very important to us,” Southgate told reporters (via the Independent). “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.”
Regardless of his fitness issues, Alli will be worried about his international starting place ahead of the World Cup given the form of Jesse Lingard.
There may also be slight concerns over his availability to start for Spurs at Chelsea this weekend.