Sunday 23 September 2018

Dele Alli set to lose his place in the England team against Sweden as Gareth Southgate considers changes - reports

Dele Alli has had a limited impact at the World Cup (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Dele Alli has had a limited impact at the World Cup (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Dele Alli's place in the England team for Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against Sweden may be under threat, amid widespread reports that his Tottenham team-mate Eric Dier will be drafted into Gareth Southgate's line-up.

Dier scored the decisive penalty in last Tuesday's shoot-out win against Colombia on Tuesday and now rumours emerging from inside the England camp suggest Southgate is planning to use Liverpool's Jordan Henderson in a more advanced attacking role.

Alli has struggled to make his mark at this World Cup and has looked less than fully fit as he has nursed a thigh problem, but the decision to play both Henderson and Dier in the same line-up may be viewed by some observers as a negative step by Southgate.

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England manager Gareth Southgate (left) and Eric Dier celebrate after the win (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Sweden have struggled to dominate matches in their run to the last eight and have had a 38 per-cent share of possession across their four matches so far, so England are likely to have the ball for lengthy periods in the match that will be staged in Samara.

That may mean the more attack-minded Alli would be a better option than Henderson as England look to crack a watertight Swedish defence, but Southgate is keen to make use of his experience against this opposition as he prepares for the biggest game of his management career.

"I have total respect for Sweden and have come across them many times in my role with junior England teams," said the former under-21 boss.

"We appreciate this challenge will be tough. We're far from perfect. We're in a really good position, and we've made progress, but we're still a team which is learning

"I think the players will like the fact that they're still recognising there's still a long way for them to go, that they're still a long way away from their peak.

"But also, this might be one of the best opportunities we ever have and we don't want to fall short by not being prepared or committed to what we're doing."

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