Sam Allardyce thinks an England player got 'a kick up the backside' with Panama win

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It must be a very strange feeling for Sam Allardyce watching England at the World Cup.

The vast majority of Three Lions fans are in sheer jubilation at the thought of football coming home, but Gareth Southgate's success must be tinged with a touch of sadness for his predecessor.

Big Sam was expected to take the national side to Russia when he was appointed in 2016.

That was before an undercover sting saw him sacked by the FA after just one game, though he can always cling to his 100% win ratio.

The 63-year-old is now having to make do with watching on TV like the rest of us, yet as you'd expect, he still has his opinions on what he's seen so far.

In the 6-1 win over Panama, Ruben Loftus-Cheek came into the side to replace the injured Dele Alli having impressed as a substitute, albeit for 10 minutes, against Tunisia last Monday.

The Chelsea midfielder looked confident and it was his shot that deflected in off Harry Kane for the Spurs striker's hat-trick goal.

And Allardyce believes the youngster's display will have served as a wake-up call for Alli.

There's lots of competition 

“I think Dele Alli is going to have a kick up the backside with Loftus-Cheek stepping in and showing the qualities he’s got,” Allardyce told talkSPORT's Alan Brazil's Sports Breakfast.

“I think the pressure players will feel on their position keeps them right on top of their game. If they look behind them and see there’s nobody to take their place, there are times where naturally they can ease off a little bit.

“But when they’re under the cosh, not only from the pressure of the World Cup but the pressure from the players in the squad who are waiting patiently to try and grab their place – I think it’s a good healthy atmosphere for England.”


It's unfair to judge Alli on his performance against Tunisia as his thigh was clearly bothering him.

However, the former England gaffer also believes Raheem Sterling should be worried about keeping his place for the final group game, despite assisting Jesse Lingard's goal against Panama.

“I can’t see any reason why Gareth shouldn’t play Marcus Rashford against Belgium,” Allardyce added.

Sterling or Rashford?

“Raheem Sterling hasn’t delivered what we know he can deliver and what he has delivered at Manchester City.

“Unfortunately for him for two games he hasn’t shone quite as much as he has this season. So you’ve got to say why not Rashford?

“Yes, we want to carry on the momentum, but Marcus Rashford scored a terrific goal in the friendly he played in.

Tunisia v England: Group G - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

“I wouldn’t say Raheem Sterling is a natural goalscorer, even though he got a huge amount of goals for Man City last season.

“Sterling is not as natural a goalscorer as Rashford, and the more goalscorers you have on the pitch the better chance you’ve got of going all the way.”

It's over to Southgate now and we'll soon see if he feels the need to make any changes for the Belgium game.

Loftus-Cheek or Alli? Sterling or Rashford? Have your say in the comments. 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Marcus Rashford
Dele Alli
Raheem Sterling
England Football
Sam Allardyce

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