By Harry Sykes
Football Insider analyses three talking points from England’s 2-2 draw against Spain in Tuesday night’s international friendly at Wembley.
Alli must be handed No10 role
One of football’s truisms is that a player’s standing grows when he is unavailable for action. That is certainly the case for Dele Alli, who missed the Spain and Scotland matches with a knee injury. The Tottenham midfielder has emerged as England’s first choice playmaker either side of the European Championships, and there was little to suggest in the past two games that he should not be slotted into the No10 role when England next play in February. With Wayne Rooney raging against the dying of the light, question marks over Jesse Lingard’s technical ability, Adam Lallana is the only genuine rival to Alli for the key position. The Spurs man, 20, is still in pole position and must be favoured once again when he is fit.
Lallana’s influence continues to grow
It was such a shame that Lallana only lasted 25 minutes before going off injured on Tuesday night. During that time he emphasised once more what a fine player he has become in elite company and how important he will be to England’s future. The Liverpool playmaker slid a sensational through pass for Jamie Vardy to win the penalty that Lallana then converted emphatically. His goalscoring, man of the match display in the 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Scotland, and his match-winning goal in Slovakia, underlines that he is now a figure of real influence for England and can thrive in a different positions behind the central striker.
Judging by his approach so far, it looks as though Gareth Southgate will send England out on the front foot against weaker opposition but sit back and play on the counter-attack when facing leading nations such as Spain. It is a sensible policy. England don’t have enough quality to be bold against the stronger sides. They are not quite good enough on the ball at the back, not technically gifted enough in midfield and are still looking for a striker who is capable of scoring several goals at a major tournament.
In other Tottenham news, Spurs are to open talks with a 24-year-old south American and a four-year deal will be offered.