England midfielder Dele Alli has returned to training ahead of his country’s World Cup clash against Panama on Sunday.
Dele Alli started training with main group but after warm-ups was withdrawn. Now working alone, moving gingerly, clearly nowhere near full fitness. Final session before flying to Nizhny Novgorod this afternoon, kick-off 1300 GMT Sunday #WorldCup #ENG #PAN #ThreeLions pic.twitter.com/Ji9lMTgw38
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) June 23, 2018
According to BBC Sport reporter David Ornstein, who is currently based at England’s training camp in Repino, the 22-year-old was withdrawn from the group to train alone after the warm-up had finished in Saturday morning’s session.
Ornstein tweeted on Saturday morning to report that Dele had been ‘moving gingerly, clearly nowhere near full fitness’ after playing a limited part in the training session.
England manager Gareth Southgate said earlier this week that Dele had a ‘slim chance’ of featuring against Panama on Sunday, after picking up the injury in the Three Lions’ World Cup opener against Tunisia on Monday.
Dele was substituted after 80 minutes in the tie, with Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek coming on in his place. Loftus-Cheek made an instant impact, along with Marcus Rashford, as captain Harry Kane scored a stoppage time winner to secure three points for England.
A scan that took place on Tuesday revealed that Dele had picked up a ‘slight thigh strain’, with a leaked photo from one of England’s training sessions this week suggesting that Loftus-Cheek could replace Dele in the England starting 11 on Sunday.
The photo, taken of a notepad under the arm of assistant coach Steve Holland, suggested that Loftus-Cheek would take Dele’s place in the starting lineup, while Marcus Rashford could be set to replace Raheem Sterling – who has failed to score in an England shirt for almost three years.
England fans will be hoping that Dele will be fit enough to return to the England lineup when the Three Lions take on Belgium in their final group game on Thursday.