9/10/2018 7:30:48 PM

Southgate expects Alli to shake off 'minor strain' in time for Liverpool clash

Southgate expects Alli to shake off

London: England manager Gareth Southgate expects Dele Alli to be fit for Tottenham's clash against Liverpool on Saturday after the midfielder was forced to withdraw from the squad to face Switzerland.

Alli was injured in England's Nations League defeat against Spain on Saturday and has pulled out of Tuesday's friendly with the Swiss in Leicester.

But Southgate played down fears of a long absence for Alli, insisting the 22-year-old will recover from the slight knock in time to play for Tottenham in their showdown with Premier League leaders Liverpool.

"He has just had a minor strain and should be fine for his club at the weekend I would think, but tomorrow's game will come too quickly," Southgate told reporters on Monday.

Alli played 90 minutes at Wembley on Saturday and Southgate was impressed with his contribution after criticism of his inconsistent efforts during England's run to the World Cup semi-finals.

"I thought his performance was good, in terms of his retention of the ball I thought he was improved in that area, his work without the ball has been good over the last six months with us," he said.

"He makes critical forward runs, like everybody else we learned a lot from the game."

Southgate, who led England to their best World Cup finish since 1990 in the summer, once again refused to  confirm whether he will sign a new contract with the Football Association.

The former Middlesbrough is currently under contract until after Euro 2020 and the FA are willing to extend that deal.

But Southgate has been coy when asked if he is ready to commit his long-term future to his country.

"We have had initial discussions as I said, that has been it," he said.

"For me I have to focus on the job in hand. I am contracted for the next 22 months and my focus is on tomorrow night and then building this team to be as competitive as it can be.

"This summer was an incredible experience for everybody, so they are the games that everyone wants to be involved in, beyond that I don't want to get into details because that will be a distraction ahead of the game."

Despite their impressive World Cup performance, England go into Tuesday's game against the Swiss aiming to avoid four successive defeats for the first time in their history following losses against Croatia, Belgium and Spain.

"Not many England sides have played a World Cup semi-final and third-placed play-off so these stats can be whatever you want them to be really," Southgate added. "From our point of view we don't want to be in the habit of losing matches but to play three teams of the quality we have in the last three matches is a very rare occurrence in international football so we have to focus on our performances, and improving as a team."

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