Southgate takes sting out of team sheet drama

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Handed a winning start for the first time in a major tournament for 12 years by captain Harry Kane's injury-time victor against Tunisia, England can look forward to Sunday's meeting with Panama with a rare sense of World Cup calm.

England take on Panama in the second of their Group G matches on Sunday in Nizhny Novgorod and the mood has turned sour in the camp after the team-sheet leak gaffe.

Alli, 22, picked up the knock in England's 2-1 opener against Tunisia on Monday and missed training the following day to undergo a scan.

Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling could swap roles.

Southgate criticised the media for giving England's opponents an upper hand.

"My only observation, which I probably haven't worded properly, it's definitely an advantage for us or for the opposition if you know the tactics of the other team". "So of course our media has to decide if they want to help the team or not".

However, Rashford refuted suggestions England are too dependent on Kane for goals.

Alli suffered a thigh strain against Tunisia and sources told ESPN FC on Tuesday that he would be a doubt to face Panama.

A free press exists to be NOT biased in any way, so for Southgate to command the opposite from the journalists around his team is quite freaky to say the least.

"To score that many goals shows he is doing something right".

"It's psychological, it's about pushing the players to be match-winners but it is also a process", he said.

"More than anything I think for the guys who aren't in the team tomorrow or who haven't been in the team for either game".

England boss Gareth Southgate was so impressed that he handed Loftus-Cheek his debut in November.

Panama were comfortably defeated 3-0 by Belgium in their opening game of the World Cup, but Southgate is taking nothing for granted as his side look to maintain their promising start to the campaign.

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