Football: Alli's impetuousness causes concern

England manager Gareth Southgate enjoying a kick-about in training with members of his squad ahead of tomorrow's World Cup qualifier against Slovenia at Wembley. Midfielder Dele Alli (front) will play no part, having copped a one-match ban for his vu
England manager Gareth Southgate enjoying a kick-about in training with members of his squad ahead of tomorrow's World Cup qualifier against Slovenia at Wembley. Midfielder Dele Alli (front) will play no part, having copped a one-match ban for his vulgar gesture during England's win over Slovakia.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Gareth Southgate intends to address Dele Alli's recent behaviour during training this week before England's World Cup qualifier against Slovenia.

The Tottenham midfielder is suspended from tomorrow's match at Wembley after receiving a one-match ban for raising his middle finger during the victory over Slovakia last month, and attracted more controversy at the weekend when he was booked for a blatant dive in his side's 4-0 win away to Huddersfield in the English Premier League.

Southgate is growing concerned that Alli's temperament and decision-making could affect his influence on the pitch, and lead to more suspensions, given his habit of picking up soft bookings.

The England manager regards the 21-year-old as a crucial player and an almost certain starter at next year's World Cup, but will warn him that such acts of indiscipline could cost him his place or damage the team's prospects.

Southgate accepted Alli's explanation for his vulgar gesture against Slovakia - that it was a joke aimed at his former Spurs team-mate Kyle Walker rather than the referee Clement Turpin - but is worried that the episode reflects a lack of maturity.

Alli made his debut for Milton Keynes Dons at the age of 16 and has made more than 200 professional appearances, winning 21 England caps to date.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino criticised Alli's decision to dive on Saturday and Southgate is likely to reinforce that message.

The booking was Alli's first of the season, although he picked up seven yellow cards during the last campaign and 11 the year before.

He also received a three-match ban for punching Claudio Yacob off the ball during a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion in April last year, and was sent off for a violent tackle in a Europa League tie against Ghent last season.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2017, with the headline 'Alli's impetuousness causes concern'. Print Edition | Subscribe