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Gareth Southgate says there is no reason Dele Alli can’t play alongside Jesse Lingard despite suggestions the Tottenham star will miss out on a place in England’s starting line-up at the World Cup.

Alli was left out of the team during the last international break, playing for just 22 minutes in friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy combined.

Lingard scored and impressed against Holland, and a front three of Lingard, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane has been mooted for the World Cup finals.

However, Alli reacted to his international omission by scoring twice against Chelsea and finishing the season strongly with Spurs.

The 22-year-old was inconsistent for long stretches of the season, but Southgate admits he is considering playing both Alli and Lingard in Russia.

“I don’t see it as a straight contest between any individuals,” said the England boss, according to ESPN.

“Absolutely [Alli and Lingard] could play together. All of our attacking players, whether that’s from midfield, wide, forwards, all have different attributes and different strengths.”

Alli may be forced to play a little deeper than he does for Tottenham – he might even end up partnering his Spurs teammate Eric Dier in central midfield.

Southgate is sure to face questions if he leaves Alli out in Saturday’s friendly against Nigeria at Wembley.

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