By Editor Wayne Veysey
Delle Alli is set to be one of six England starters against France tomorrow aged 22 or under, Football Insider sources understand.
Roy Hodgson revealed at his pre-match press conference this afternoon that he will field a youthful line-up made predominantly of players who have played little international football.
Although the England manager did not name the players, only eight of the remaining players left in the squad are 22 or under – Tottenham trio Alli, Eric Dier and Harry Kane, Everton pair Ross Barkley and John Stones, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard and Stoke’s Jack Butland.
It is understood that Alli, 19, will make his first international start in the clash at Wembley while Stones will partner Gary Cahill in the centre of defence.
The match will go ahead against the backdrop of the Paris terror attacks that devastated France last Friday.
“There will be six players under the age of 22 and today we’ve lost (Fabian) Delph [through injury],” revealed Hodgson. “That shows you how young the team will be.
“I would rather have had the players available for Euro 2016 available for this match so we wouldn’t have to go too far down the experimental route, but it is experimental from our point of view, and we have to make sure we play the best the game possible.
“We can’t deny that there is something over this game that is far greater than football and I can’t imagine how this game is going to go because I’ve not been in this situation before. The game is to go ahead and we will prepare and try to play the best game we can play but we can’t deny there are other issue at stake.
“We are in a difficult situation and we’re playing against a very good team. I’m sure these players won’t let the country down but I’m sure the game will be a lot more about showing solidarity.”