Football News

Tottenham midfielder ready for England World Cup starring role

Tottenham and England international midfielder Dele Alli is prepared for a starring role in the national team’s World Cup campaign. England will kickoff their World Cup tournament on June 18 against Panama in Volgograd. The English are favourites to go through from Group G into the knockout round with Belgium. Alli is gearing up for a major role in manager Gareth Southgate’s team.

Embed from Getty Images

Alli recently addressed past behaviour issues that caused him to be suspended at the international level. The midfielder drew the ire of fans and pundits when he flipped off match referee Clement Turpin during England’s international win over Slovakia in 2017. Although he said it was a joke directed at Kyle Walker. Turpin and others did not find the gesture funny.

The midfielder believes he has now grown up and will no longer make any similar missteps.

“I’ve made mistakes in the earlier part of my career — you have to make them in order to learn from them,” Alli said in a recent interview. “But if you look at my record, I have definitely learned from my mistakes.

“I’ve got everything under control, that’s not what I’m worrying about.

“You have to stay concentrated, you can’t do stupid things. And if you do, you have to learn from your mistakes, that’s just the way it is.

“You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you could lose the game for your team when you’re on international duty. I want to play with passion, I want to play with hunger in every game.”

Alli will play in a deeper midfield position than he does with club team Tottenham at the World Cup. The Spurs’ man regularly plays closer to goal. However, Southgate deploys Alli slightly deeper to see the more of the field ahead of him.

“This is not a new position for me,” Alli said. “For my whole time at MK Dons I was playing there. It wasn’t really until I signed for Tottenham that I started playing in the No. 10 role, a bit higher up the pitch.

“I enjoy playing there, but when you’ve got the Three Lions on your jersey, then you will play anywhere you’re needed.

“Yes, it’s a battleground and there’s a lot of different challenges.  There are a lot of great players in the squad for Gareth to choose from.

“On the day of the games everyone will be ready, so you’re not just concentrating on one position. Wherever you’re needed, you have to be ready to step in.”

England play Tunisia in their first World Cup match on June 18. The Three Lions follow up their first game five days later against Panama before taking on Belgium in their last Group G fixture.

Can England win the World Cup 2018? If not, which team will win the Jules Rimet Trophy this summer?