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Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli may see his supposed starting place for England at this summer's World Cup come under threat as a result of his own immature behaviour, as well as others playing themselves into contention.

Much to the surprise of many, Alli played just 22 minutes of the Netherlands friendly last week and was an unused substitute in the draw against Italy on Tuesday night.


And while Alli's absence in the latter game has been explained by a minor fitness issue, a report from The Times suggests that manager Gareth Southgate also "wanted to make a point to the 21-year-old that he cannot take England selection for granted".

Describing the player as "too individualistic", the newspaper explains that Southgate has concerns over Alli's apparent difficulty in following instructions and how he will fit into the team.

His immature behaviour was also right under the boss' nose last week in Amsterdam when he was seen "giggling and messing around" during the game instead of watching the action.

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That may explain his total omission against Italy a few days later. 

Alli's problem now is that others are catching him and in some cases overtaking him in the fierce battle for places, perhaps most obviously Jesse Lingard, who scored England's only goal against the Dutch for a first win in the fixture in 22 years.

"I have got a problem, because I have (Marcus) Rashford, (Jesse) Lingard, (Raheem) Sterling, (Harry) Kane, (Jamie) Vardy, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - so there are huge choices that I have to make," Southgate is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror when discussing his attacking options.

"I don't foresee a scenario where they don't come to Russia with us, but I can only pick 11 [to play]. That is one of the big things of being an England manager, you have got decisions to make.

"Dele is well in the frame for that," he added. "There's no reason he can't come to Russia and have a huge impact on that tournament. We've seen the ability he has. The talent is there and I am looking forward to seeing him over the next few weeks."