One of the lingering questions that still remains after England’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in the World Cup on Monday is about Dele Alli. The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder started brightly for the opening 20 minutes or so but pulled up with what looked like a muscle injury in the first half.
He was eventually subbed off in the 80th minute by Gareth Southgate but looked somewhat hobbled and less effective in the second half. After the match, Southgate said that Dele injured his quadriceps muscle and will continue to be monitored, but that he could be a doubt for the Three Lions’ next match against Panama.
“We had to keep monitoring Dele. He was feeling a little bit of an issue just before half-time, but he felt he could carry on and I thought the runs that he was making and the way he was pressing the ball was still causing a problem.
”He had a half chance with a lovely ball Jordan Henderson played to him, lofted over the top.
”But we have good options on the bench and we felt to put the freshness of Marcus (Rashford) and Ruben (Loftus-Cheek) would both bring fresh energy but also a different sort threat to the one that we’d posed.”
The fact that Dele stayed on for as long as he did suggests that whatever knock he picked up probably isn’t serious, but with Panama a very winnable match (knock on wood) it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he’s rested and saved for the big match in Group G against Belgium.