Paul Merson has said the least surprising thing about Jack Wilshere and Dele Alli ever before the Wales game

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Football News

Paul Merson believes England boss Roy Hodgson needs to drop Tottenham ace Dele Alli for the Three Lions' clash against Wales today - and replace him with Arsenal man Jack Wilshere.

Alli started England's Euro 2016 opener against Russia on Saturday, which ended in a 1-1 draw, while Wilshere replaced Wayne Rooney in the second half. 

While Alli enjoyed a breakthrough campaign last season with Spurs following his move from MK Dons, Wilshere made just three Premier League appearances after another injury-hit campaign. 

Despite that, the 24-year-old impressed in a series of cameo appearances for England in the build up to Euro 2016 and he looked sharp against Russia in Marseille - although he could do little to stop his side conceding late on against Leonid Slutsky's team.

Alli meanwhile was solid rather than spectacular on Saturday having missed the tail-end of the season after receiving a three-game suspension for punching West Bromwich Albion midfielder Claudio Yacob.

Now Merson believes that the time has come for Hodgson to make a big call and ditch Alli in favour of Wilshere ahead of what is being billed as his biggest game in charge of the Three Lions.

The former Arsenal man wrote in his column for the Daily Star: "I wouldn’t make too many changes although Jack Wilshere didn’t start against Russia so would bring him in.

"Dele Alli had a quiet game and his game is all about making those runs from deep into space that just isn’t there against teams that drop off and defend. So I’d play Wilshere. He has that little bit of guile about him to pick a pass and unlock a tight back four."

The former midfielder turned Sky Sports pundit also believed England should have no problems seeing off Chris Coleman's side, even if they are led by Real Madrid star Gareth Bale.

"I still can’t see anything but a win against Wales though," he explained.

"Gareth Bale would walk into the England team but he is the only Wales player who would get anywhere near it. The pressure is on England but they must not get too negative. I think we’ve been one of the better teams so far."

A victory against Wales would leave Russia on the brink of elimination from the competition following their defeat against Slovakia yesterday. However a defeat would leave England hanging on by a thread ahead of their final game of the group stages against Slovakia on Saturday. 

Both England and Wales have been engaged in a war of words over the past few days, with Gareth Bale in particular leading the charge. 

Hodgson has hit back at the Wales' camp, insisting that 'talk is cheap' and that his team are more than prepared for today's game.

"Talk is talk, action on the field is action on the field,” he said. “If we – myself and my players – really took it seriously, thinking about what people in the other team are saying ahead of a game, and allowed it to affect our concentration, then we’d all be very ashamed of ourselves.

“We’re perfectly satisfied with the passion we bring to our game and we don’t doubt our desire, our commitment or our wish to do well in the tournament."

Who do you think will win between England and Wales today?

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Jack Wilshere
Euro 2016
Tottenham Hotspur
England Football

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