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Gareth Southgate explains Dele Alli absence against Italy

England ended their run of international fixtures in a positive way, beating the Netherlands and were denied a victory against Italy with a contentious penalty decision after the referee consulted the VAR system.

A number of players impressed during those games which will give manager, Gareth Southgate, plenty of food for thought when deciding his World Cup squad.

READ MORE: Why does Arsene Wenger always substitute Alexandre Lacazette?

Gareth Southgate yesterday revealed he knows 19 or 20 players who are almost sure to be boarding the plane to Russia.

Dele Alli would have been a shoe-in to be in the squad, however, he may be thinking twice about his place in the England squad – given that he played just 22 minutes against the Netherlands on Friday, was again left on the substitutes bench for the game against Italy.

Southgate explains Dele Alli absence against Italy

Southgate, revealed that Spurs’ midfielder Alli would have come on had it not been for a head injury to John Stones which forced the defender off, and also underlined his importance to his squad ahead of the World Cup.

He said: “He’s very important to us. In training, he’s not been able to finish all of the sessions, with the little problem he’s had.

“We wanted to get Adam [Lallana] in, and give Lewis [Cook] some time as well, and then losing John, I didn’t want to make any more changes.

“But of course Dele always wants to play, and he’ll be disappointed, of course.”

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