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Gareth Southgate names England’s best player… and it’s not Harry Kane

The Three Lions gaffer identified Adam Lallana as the best player since his reign began

Watching England has been a particularly turgid experience in recent times.

Gareth Southgate has led the Three Lions to qualification for the 2018 World Cup but many fans have been unimpressed with the manner of the performances.

Gareth Southgate keeps pointing out the failings of previous England sides

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To be fair, being England manager is a thankless task

Three goals after the 85th minute made the win over minnows Malta appear better on paper than it was in reality.

A decent second half at home to Slovakia was offset by an underwhelming first 45 minutes.

And Thursday night’s showing against Slovenia was a painful experience for viewers with Harry Kane’s 94th minute winner somewhat sparing the team’s blushes.

Most regard Kane as England’s standout player — the only member of the squad who could claim to be nearing world-class.

Harry Kane will test is credentials as a world class striker by facing Germany and Brazil

We’ve got Harry at least

However, ahead of his final qualifying fixture away to Lithuania, Southgate has named England’s best player… and it’s not Kane.

The Three Lions’ gaffer heaped praise on Adam Lallana in his latest press conference.

Speaking to the media he said: “In my year in charge, Adam Lallana has been our best player and we’ve not had him for the last three matches.

“There are some players who can unlock defences and score goals.

“Dele [Alli] is an interesting player. If you analyse his game closely he’s a scorer of goals and he’s not necessarily the link player Adam is.”

Adam Lallana Gareth Southgate

Lallana has been out since early August with a thigh injury


There’s no doubt that England have often struggled to breakdown teams who set out to defend against then.

Lallana was named England’s Player of the Year for 2016, partly because of his work in between the opposition’s midfield and defence.

While Kane’s finishing is top class, it’s not much use if somebody can’t get the ball to him in a genuine shooting position.

Lallana certainly deserves praise although it’s slightly concerning that Southgate hinted at the belief that Dele Alli won’t make a significant difference to the team performance tonight.

Dele Alli has been told that England's World Cup hopes could hinge on his good behaviour in Russia

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We could be in for another 90 minutes of sideways passing… thank goodness it’s a dead rubber.