Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli is a better option for England than Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard when on top of his game, says Glenn Hoddle.
The 21-year-old midfielder appeared to have nailed down a starting berth for the Three Lions with his exploits at club level over the last couple of seasons.
Alli has, however, endured an uncharacteristic dip in 2017-18, leading to questions of a World Cup role with his country.
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Hoddle believes the Spurs star will still get the nod, even if asked to alter his position slightly, with the current competition not at Alli’s level – even in-form United forward Lingard who has plundered 13 goals for the Red Devils.
The former England and Tottenham boss told the Daily Mail: “For Dele Alli’s own peace of mind, I hope he realises a little dip in form for a 21-year-old prospect is completely normal and he’ll learn more about himself as a player now than at any other time.
“It is easy when everything goes your way. How to shake off any negative vibes when things aren’t going so well is the difficult bit.
“It could be the making of Dele, and there are plenty of important matches left to win back his England starting place before the World Cup.
“I know he often plays as a No 10 for Spurs because of his relationship with Harry Kane, but the way Gareth Southgate seems to be setting up, I think he’d be best suited as one of three midfielders in a 3-5-2.
“It will take a certain amount of adjusting his game but won’t require anything he can’t do.
“And if you look at his rivals for the position — Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, Jack Wilshere — he is a better goalscorer than any of them.
“An in-form Dele Alli is probably even better than Jesse Lingard in that regard.”
Alli has only managed 10 goals for Spurs this season, and 13 assists across Premier League and Champions League competition.
He has found the target only once in his last 18 appearances for club and country, but does still have time to play his way into form heading into a first outing at a global showpiece with England.