Ex-England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright has hailed Jesse Lingard as better than his compatriot Dele Alli following his positive impact on England this international break.
Wright spoke of the duo after England's draw against Italy on Tuesday night where Lingard started the game and picked up an assist for Jamie Vardy's opener.
"He's playing with a lot of confidence and rightly so"
Lingard has shown a sudden and unexpected change of form this season for Manchester United, where he has scored 13 goals, second only to Romelu Lukaku. The 25-year-old also registered the winner in the friendly against Holland on Friday, his first goal for his country.
Wright commented: “I think that Lingard’s been having a very good season.
"With all that’s been happening at Man United, he’s come in and when he’s started he’s done well."
The former England forward added: "He’s trying to get forward, he’s trying to score goals, he did it the other day.
"He’s playing with a lot of confidence and rightly so."
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"I think he needs to get his confidence going"
In comparison, Alli has 10 goals in total this campaign whilst performing below his expected standard, leading to Gareth Southgate dropping him to the bench for the Three Lions.
This prompted Wright to believe he is undeserving of a place in the initial lineup ahead of Lingard.
The former Arsenal striker said: “He should be in there in front of Dele, unfortunately for Dele at the moment it’s not quite going well for him.
"He came on the other day and seemed to lose the ball a bit too often for me.
"I think he needs to get his confidence going but I think this is the kind of push that he needs.”
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Southgate states Alli's importance to England
The England boss spoke of Alli as a key figure to the team despite his lack of form. During Tuesday's game at Wembley, Alli remained on the bench the whole 90 minutes, but this was a forced action due to a minor problem in training and John Stone's early injury against Italy, says Southgate.
"He's very important to us," the England boss said.
"In training, he's not been able to finish all of the sessions, with the little problem he's had."
We wanted to get Adam [Lallana] in, and give Lewis [Cook] some time as well, and then losing John, I didn't want to make any more changes.
Southgate concluded: "But of course Dele always wants to play, and he'll be disappointed, of course."