Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli contributed to one of the more bizarre moments of England’s 2-1 victory over Slovakia on Monday.
With his side in the lead, the player was working to extend the advantage. In the 77th minute, he appeared to articulate his frustration by raising his middle finger.
TV cameras happened to be on the player just at the moment he made the gesture. Here it is:
It prompted some confusion as to who the potentially offensive gesture was directed at. British media suggested it could have been the referee, but Alli quickly clarified that it was aimed at a teammate.
On Twitter, he said it “was a joke” between himself and his “good friend Kyle Walker.”
If the referee, Clément Turpin, includes the incident in his official report then FIFA, the world governing body of football, could open disciplinary proceedings.
England manager Gareth Southgate told reporters after the match: “Kyle and Dele were mucking about, and Dele’s made a gesture towards Kyle. I don’t know what the angle of the pitch is. The pair of them have a strange way of communicating, but that’s what they have said when it’s been raised.
“For me, what it does is detract from what was his best performance for us since I’ve been the manager. His work without the ball was top drawer, intelligent positions and turning people over.”
Slovakia scored the opening goal on Monday but England mounted a successful comeback through goals from Eric Dier and Marcus Rashford.
Just to clarify, the gesture tonight was a joke between me and my good friend Kyle Walker! Apologies for any offence caused! Great win 2nite
— Dele (@dele_official) September 4, 2017
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