English Premiership

Opportunities knock for Alli, Walcott

2015-10-08 12:48

London - Tottenham Hotspur teenager Dele Alli is one of several players hoping to make an impression when England begin their preparations for next year's European Championships against Estonia on Friday.

England secured their place at Euro 2016 by beating Switzerland 2-0 last month, when Wayne Rooney became his country's all-time leading scorer, and they will be looking to record a ninth win in nine Group E games in the encounter at Wembley.

With nothing riding on the game, manager Roy Hodgson may use it to test Arsenal forward Theo Walcott in a central role and could also give 19-year-old central midfielder Alli a first taste of senior international football.

"He's really pushed on," said goalkeeper Joe Hart of Alli, who signed for Spurs from Milton Keynes Dons for an initial fee of ‎£5 million in February and has made four Premier League starts to date this season, scoring once.

"He had a good season last season and Tottenham look like they've given him confidence by putting him in their very good side.

"It's good to get him in and he's going to be in and around the England squad for a very long time."

Rooney scored a late free-kick to give England a 1-0 win when the teams last met a year ago in Tallinn; a game overshadowed by the fall-out from Hodgson's claim that Raheem Sterling had told him he was too tired to play.

Sterling, who is in the squad to face Estonia, revisited the incident in a recent interview with The Guardian in which the Manchester City forward denied saying that he had not wanted to play.

Rooney is a major doubt for Friday's game after sitting out two training sessions with an ankle injury sustained during Manchester United's 3-0 defeat at Arsenal last weekend.

But he is due to attend the match even if unfit in order to receive a commemorative golden boot from Bobby Charlton, whose record of 49 goals he surpassed with a penalty against Switzerland.

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