MX23RW : Wednesday, July 18 09:02:55
Jun 24, 2018 at 1pm UK at ​Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Attendance: 43,319
England
6-1
PanamaPanama
Stones (8', 40'), Kane (22' pen., 45' pen., 62'), Lingard (36')
Loftus-Cheek (24')
FT(HT: 5-0)
Baloy (78')
Cooper (10'), Escobar (44'), Murillo (72')

Paul Merson: 'Dele Alli should not play for England in Panama World Cup game'

Merson: 'Alli should not play against Panama'
© Reuters
Paul Merson believes that Dele Alli should not play for England in Sunday's World Cup Group G encounter against Panama in Nizhny Novgorod.

Paul Merson has claimed that Dele Alli should not play for England against Panama when the two teams meet in Sunday's World Cup Group G encounter in Nizhny Novgorod.

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder suffered a thigh strain during the Three Lions' tournament-opening 2-1 win over Tunisia on Monday and was subsequently sent for scans.

Although the England camp confirmed that Alli's issue will be monitored over the coming days, Merson thinks that the 22-year-old would be wasted in games where the opposition is likely to defend en masse.

"I probably wouldn't have played Dele Alli in that [Tunisia] game and I wouldn't have been fussed about playing him against Panama," the former England international told Sky Sports News. "Dele Alli needs to be playing in games where the other teams are going to have a go at us and there's grass on the other side.

"He's very good without the ball and makes good runs, but there's got to be space. In the first two games there will be 10 behind the ball, but against Belgium and in the knockout stages I think Dele Alli will be a better player."

Harry Kane's 91st-minute winner against Tunisia means that Gareth Southgate's side are level on points with Group G leaders Belgium going into the second round of matches.

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England's Harry Kane celebrates scoring their first goal in the World Cup match against Tunisia on June 18, 2018
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Merson: 'Kane poor against Tunisia'
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