BT Sport's Harry Redknapp
Harry Redknapp has told The Telegraph that he thinks Dele Alli and Ross Barkley can play in midfield together for England – and reports suggest that they could also link up at Tottenham.
For years, much of the discussion surrounding the England national team was whether Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard – two of the country's finest midfielders with Chelsea and Liverpool respectively – could play together given that they both wanted to get forward and attack.
Whilst both players have now retired, a similar argument looks set to surround England, with Everton's Ross Barkley and Tottenham's Dele Alli at the centre of the debate.
Both young midfielders are attack-minded players who can create and score, without putting too much emphasis on defensive work, with many believing that England boss Gareth Southgate has to pick one over the other, rather than play both.
However, former Spurs boss and current pundit Harry Redknapp has told The Telegraph that he thinks both players should start for England, as too many people believe that a defensive midfielder is needed to accommodate both.
“Too often, we’re too [wedded to the idea that] we’ve got to have a holding midfielder, we’ve got to have a defensive midfielder,” said Redknapp. “Okay, I know Chelsea have got the boy who sits in. But why can’t Barkley play? Barkley’s six-foot tall, incredible build; Dele Alli’s six foot, one inch, whatever.”
“We’re not talking about tiny little kids who can’t defend or can’t tackle or no strength. They’re good players. Play your good players. Find a way of playing them. Why can’t they play together? The pair of them can run all day, can tackle, they head it; they’ve got everything,” he added.
England's Eric Dier, Ross Barkley, John Stones and Dele Alli during training
Redknapp's comments are particularly interesting given that, not only could Alli and Barkley feature together for England, but they may be team-mates at Tottenham in the not-too-distant future.
The Daily Mail report that Tottenham want to sign Barkley from Everton this summer as he heads towards the final year of his contract at Goodison Park, though Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is believed to have concerns in line with Redknapp's comments.
It's claimed that Pochettino is unsure whether Alli and Barkley can play in the same team, and whilst he has Victor Wanyama to protect the back four, Spurs also have the likes of Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen who can play centrally.
Fitting all or even most of those players into the same team looks to be a difficult task, and whilst Redknapp may back playing both Alli and Barkley together, it's unlikely that Pochettino would play that way without having a player like Wanyama holding the fort in midfield.
Would you like to see Alli and Barkley in the same Tottenham side?