LONDON (Reuters) - England midfielder Dele Alli faces an anxious wait to discover whether he faces any disciplinary action from FIFA after appearing to make an obscene gesture toward the referee during the second half of the 2-1 victory against Slovakia on Monday.
The fiery Tottenham Hotspur player was caught on camera raising a middle finger in the direction of French referee Clement Turpin having not been awarded a foul after a heavy challenge by Slovakia hard man Martin Skrtel.
Although it was unclear exactly who the gesture was aimed at, Alli’s discipline was again the subject of discussion after the Group F World Cup qualifier at Wembley Stadium.
England manager Gareth Southgate, who described Alli’s display as his best since he took charge, initially said he had not seen the incident but would look at it in the coming days.
Later Southgate said Alli had told him the gesture was made in jest toward his former Tottenham team mate Kyle Walker.
”I’ve not seen it, but I’ve been made aware of it,“ Southgate told reporters. ”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’ve said.
”I’ve literally just gone and asked him (Dele) quickly. 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. He made fantastic runs behind the opposition defense and was a threat. Hopefully we’ll be talking about that.”
Should referee Turpin adjudge that Alli’s gesture was aimed at him and mention it in his post-match report the 21-year-old could face retrospective punishment from world governing body FIFA.
Alli later explained his actions on Twitter.
“Just to clarify, the gesture tonight was a joke between me and my good friend Kyle Walker! Apologies for any offense caused! Great win 2nite (sic),” he wrote.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris