One day after starting and playing 90 minutes for England as they defeated Lithuania 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli was full of praise for his international manager. Dele, speaking to the press after the match, expressed satisfaction with the way England are playing under new manager Gareth Southgate as he begins the process of revamping the Three Lions’ squad to include a new generation of English talent.
"[Southgate] likes to play football and get the ball down. I think with the players we have got it really suits us.
"We like to win the ball up high and press, and get the ball down and play football and be patient as well so it is a fantastic time.
"With the boys we have got here, a lot of the boys want to play that way. It is important with the squad he chooses that everyone comes in and has an understanding and wants to play the same way. It is important for the team when we come here that we all buy into the philosophy.
"Like I say, he is a fantastic coach and it is a pleasure to play for him."
Based on a (very) cursory examination of England in their two international break matches against Germany and Lithuania, Southgate appears to be trying to implement tactics that are a little closer to the pressing 4-2-3-1 employed by teams like Spurs and Liverpool. That familiarity should benefit Tottenham players like Dele, Kyle Walker, and Eric Dier, all of whom started and played the majority of both matches.
Southgate started Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe up top alongside Jamie Vardy against Lithuania with Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney both out of action, and the former Tottenham star rewarded him by firing home his 20th international goal. England currently lead UEFA Group F with 13 points from 5 matches.