Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has urged England manager Gareth Southgate to resist playing Dele Alli against Panama. The Three Lions midfielder is already said to be carrying a groin strain from the 2-1 win over Tunisia and Merson believes the 22-year-old should not be risked against a side whoare likely to defence for most periods of the game.
He told Sky Sports News: “I probably wouldn't have played Dele Alli in that [Tunisia] game and I wouldn't have been fussed about playing him against Panama. Dele Alli needs to be playing in games where the other teams are going to have a go at us and there's grass on the other side. He's very good without the ball and makes good runs, but there's got to be space. In the first two games there will be 10 behind the ball, but against Belgium and in the knockout stages I think Dele Alli will be a better player.”