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Southgate: Dele Alli “unlikely” to play for England vs. Panama

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The Tottenham midfielder suffered a slight thigh strain and will be held out as a precaution.

Tunisia v England: Group G - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Dele Alli will most likely be held out of England’s upcoming Group G match against Panama tomorrow, according to Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate.

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder picked up a mild thigh sprain in the first half of England’s 2-1 win over Tunisia, an injury that wasn’t severe enough for him to be immediately substituted but enough to keep him out of England’s second group stage match.

Dele has yet to return to training with England, and Southgate told TalkSport that while he’s not been fully ruled out, the prospects of him playing are “unlikely.” Here’s Southgate when asked if the players had been informed of the starting lineup:

“Not yet, no. I mean I think always from the type of training that we do they have a good idea and clearly we had a team that played very well and won. So, we’re not going to be wildly different to that.

“We have to wait and see whether Dele is going to be fit. It’s looking unlikely because he has not trained with the team yet, but he’s progressing really well, so we won’t rule that out just yet.”

Keeping Dele out vs Panama would be fine, considering how Panama played in their first match against Belgium. The Panamanians are a very physical side, and Dele would have a high probability of being kicked at least once. On paper, England shouldn’t have too much difficulty taking care of Panama and Southgate should have plenty of options as to how to set up the Three Lions in Dele’s absence.