ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) - England midfielder Dele Alli is unlikely to play against Panama due to his thigh injury, manager Gareth Southgate said on Friday.
Alli did not take part in the team’s training sessions on Friday, working on his own as he tries to get back to fitness following the knock he received in the 2-1 opening win over Tunisia.
“We have to wait and see whether Dele is going to be fit,” Southgate told Talksport.
“It’s looking unlikely because he has not trained with the team yet, but he’s progressing really well, so we won’t rule that out just yet,” he said.
The England manager said he had not told his players what his starting line-up would be.
“Not yet, no. I mean I think always from the type of training that we do they have a good idea and clearly we had a team that played very well and won. So, we’re not going to be wildly different to that,” he said.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is expected to replace Alli while Southgate faces a decision on whether to stick with Raheem Sterling in attack or give a start to Marcus Rashford, who impressed from the bench against Tunisia.
Southgate denied that the team sheet published by some British media was his starting line-up for Sunday’s game but warned that leaks would harm his team’s efforts.
An image of a notepad held by Southgate’s assistant Steve Holland, taken during an open training session, was published by some outlets who said it showed Sterling was to be replaced by Rashford.
Southgate insisted it was not the team to face Panama written down on Holland’s pad but chastised the media for publishing the photographs.
“There is a squad of 23 names on the sheet. The next sheet has different players in different positions because we swap people in and swap people out.
“The stories are then run as they are. For me, it’s no drama,” he said.
“Obviously any time, if we were to give the opposition the opportunity of having our team it’s a disadvantage to us so of course our media has to decide whether they want to help the team or not.
“But given that it was just a squad list, it doesn’t really make any difference to us really,” he added.
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond