Dele Alli an Injury Doubt Ahead of Panama Game

By: SBAT Staff

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While Gareth Southgate may look into making changes for England's game against Panama on Sunday, he may also be forced into making at least one. Dele Alli struggled during the first half of England's opener against Tunisia with a thigh problem, but continued to play on. He was eventually subbed during that game, but has since missed training and is a doubt for the game on Sunday. He could have been rested anyway, with England having one eye on their final group game against Belgium, but instead of Southgate deciding what he does with the entire team, a move to bring someone in to replace Alli may be forced upon him.

When Alli was subbed during the Tunisia game, Reuben Loftus-Cheek was the player to come on and replace him, and he looked lively during his cameo. He could be the one who replaces Alli, and it would give the youngster a chance to shine and stake a claim to play in further games. Elsewhere, it is expected that Southgate will make changes to his team as he looks to keep everyone fresh after what has been a tiring season for some players.

Marcus Rashford came on against Tunisia and after a disappointing show from Raheem Sterling, Southgate may turn to the Manchester United man for a differnt type of attacking option. One glaring  problem for England in their first game was the lack of chances taken early. Without Harry Kane, England look like a team who will struggle to score goals and to a certain extent Rashford can solve that. He is a better goalscorer than Sterling and if that is what Southgate wants from his second striker then he is a better fit to play in that position. It is highly likely that Harry Kane will at least start the game on Sunday, giving Rashford the chance to show he can be an able partner to the Tottenham star.

England may also look to change things up defensively, with Gary Cahill potentially coming in for Harry Maguire. It wasn't the best performance from Maguire against Tunisia and he made a couple of mistakes that stronger teams may have taken advantage of. Cahill adds experience and strength which England will need against Belgium in their final game of the group, so seeing him come in for Maguire to play against Panama wouldn't be a surprise.

The game on Sunday should be comfortable for England and they are as short as 2/11 to win against Panama. The majority of those changes are going to be decisions made by him, but it looks like Dele Alli may be forced out to give Southgate a change he doesn't want to make. Reuben Loftus-Cheek looks the most likely player to step in and play instead of Alli, an opportunity for him to show what he can do from the start of a game. England are as short at 12/1 to win the World Cup, and if they are to go all the way then Gareth Southgate will have to manage his squad well, and enforce rest periods for his key players where possible, something he will do on Sunday.