Dele Alli hopes he can become England’s entertainer under Gareth Southgate.
The Tottenham midfielder was restored to the starting XI against Malta by the newly-installed interim manager and repaid that faith with his first competitive goal in a 2-0 win at Wembley.
The 20-year-old could not add to his tally as the visitors, ranked 176th in the world, held on in a second-half stalemate but enjoyed his time in the number 10 role.
He has not always been trusted in that position in his brief international career but could establish himself as a key creative force during Southgate’s four-game stint.
The former Middlesbrough manager has said he wants his England team to be a brave and dynamic one and Alli appears to fit the bill.
“(Can I be) the entertainer? I hope so,” he said.
“I like to enjoy the game and to have fun and express myself as much as I can. That’s the kind of thing that Gareth was saying to us before the game. So it suited me well.
“Obviously I’m happy to get the goal and maybe I could have got a few more.
“I just enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve always been looking to get goals and assists and to do that I need to be higher up the pitch. I missed a few chances but I’ll put that behind me and keep on improving.”
Alli on Southgate appointment
Alli, who knows Southgate from their shared time with England Under-21s, was full of praise for the way he has pulled the senior side together at short notice.
Southgate was the safest pair of hands available to the Football Association following the dramatic end to Sam Allardyce’s 67-day reign and is already firm favourite to land the permanent post.
“He was quite relaxed and has a lot of faith in us it seems,” said Alli.
“He told us to go out there and express ourselves, not to worry too much and to keep playing football and not get carried away.
“I think every manager is different in their own way, he is a great manager and I look forward to working under him.
“I worked with him before at the Under-21s and I’m looking forward to working with him for these games too.
“The set-up they have got here is fantastic, St George’s Park and everything like that, everyone gets on well and the manager has come in and fit in perfectly.”
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