The Football Association is hoping to find out whether Dele Alli will be hit by a FIFA ban for his middle-finger gesture before Gareth Southgate names his England squad on Thursday.
The Three Lions welcome Slovenia to Wembley next week, before heading to the Baltics as their World Cup qualification campaign comes to an end at Lithuania.
A five-point cushion at the top of Group F leaves England on the brink of sealing their place in Russia, but Southgate may have to deal without Alli for some, if not all, of the upcoming international break.
FIFA confirmed to Press Association Sport that its disciplinary committee will decide on Wednesday or Thursday what, if any, punishment the Tottenham midfielder faces for raising his middle finger during the qualifier against Slovakia.
Alli could be hit with a ban and/or a fine for September’s incident, with a lengthy suspension meaning the 21-year-old could potentially even miss the start of next summer’s World Cup.
The Tottenham midfielder has stressed it was aimed at team-mate Kyle Walker rather than the officials or any Slovakia player, with the FA submitting video evidence and written statements to FIFA in a bid to back up their case.
English football’s governing body is hoping to find out the decision before Southgate announces his squad on Thursday, but a FIFA spokesperson told Press Association Sport that “disciplinary decisions are usually notified and communicated a few days after the hearing”.
Alli’s future is an unwanted complication ahead of Thursday’s squad announcement at St George’s Park, where the England boss will be unable to call upon Nathaniel Chalobah again.
The highly-rated Watford midfielder was in line for his England debut having been involved in the squad for the first time last month – but the 22-year-old has had to undergo surgery on a knee injury sustained in training.
The club’s performance director Gavin Benjafield expects to see Chalobah “reintegrating into the squad well before the New Year”, although the injury has thrown a season that could end at the World Cup off kilter. That injury, along with Alli’s potential ban, narrows England’s midfield options, with Adam Lallana, the country’s reigning player of the year, and Danny Drinkwater also both out through injury.
James Ward-Prowse has only started two Premier League games for Southampton this season but Southgate may turn to his former Under-21s captain, who was given his international debut against Germany in March. Saints team-mate Nathan Redmond, who also made his bow in Dortmund, is pushing for a place in the squad, as is West Ham’s Michail Antonio if he can overcome a groin complaint.
Leicester defender Harry Maguire impressed behind the scenes in the previous meet-up and is likely to receive a second call-up, but Everton centre-back Michael Keane trained alone on Wednesday with a foot issue.
Nathaniel Clyne and Danny Rose remain unavailable at full-back, while Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw has only played 45 minutes since returning from ligament damage in his foot.
Arsene Wenger says Danny Welbeck’s groin injury will keep him out until after the international break, while Arsenal team-mate Theo Walcott will be hoping for a recall. Jack Wilshere only has one substitute appearance and a solitary start under his belt for the Gunners this term.
Burnley’s Tom Heaton has undergone surgery on his dislocated left shoulder, but Southgate named four goalkeepers in the last meet-up so Joe Hart, Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland are set to retain their place. Fraser Forster is the main contender if Southgate decides on a fourth again.
Source: By PA Sport Staff
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