Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard will start for England in Saturday’s friendly against Nigeria at Wembley Stadium and manager Gareth Southgate believes there is no reason why he can’t play alongside Dele Alli.
Lingard, who usually operates in an attacking midfield role, scored 13 goals for United last season in all competitions – his most productive campaign yet at Old Trafford.
While some observers believe the 25-year-old is competing for the same spot in the England side as Tottenham’s Alli, Southgate says that isn’t the case.
“I don’t see it as a straight contest between any individual, absolutely they could play together,” Southgate told a news conference ahead of the match at Wembley.
“All of our attacking players have different attributes or strengths. Jesse is a fantastic player at recognising the space, working away from the ball, a great link between midfield and attack,” he said.
But Southgate gave no clues as to who would start in goal for England with Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope the three goalkeepers in the World Cup squad.
“We know what we want to see in that area and we’re clear on what we think. There’s no need for me to say too much on that publicly,” said Southgate.
“I’ve told the players what we’re looking for in these two matches and haven’t told them the team yet.”