With Adam Lallana set to return from injury next month, England manager Gareth Southgate has agreed to ease back the Liverpool midfielder.
Lallana has been sidelined for the entirety of the campaign so far, having picked up a serious thigh injury in the Audi Cup defeat to Atletico Madrid in pre-season.
The 29-year-old has since returned to outdoor work, however, and he has travelled to Qatar to continue his rehabilitation.
His comeback is pencilled in for mid-November, which coincides with a pair of showcase friendlies for England during the international break.
Southgate’s side take on Germany (November 10) and Brazil (November 14) at Wembley Stadium, as they continue their preparations for the World Cup in Russia.
But according to the Mail, the Three Lions manager won’t call upon Lallana for those games, to “ensure he’s at peak fitness” for next summer.
“Southgate regards the 29-year-old as a key figure for England next summer and is happy not to have him rushed back for the longer-term benefit,” they write.
Lallana is said to be lined up for his Liverpool return against Southampton on November 18.
Lallana has been one of Southgate’s best players since taking over from Sam Allardyce in November of last year, with two goals and an assist in six appearances.
Southgate was scrutinised for his use of the midfielder, however, when he was forced off the field with a groin injury in England’s 2-2 friendly draw with Spain.
His decision to prolong Lallana’s recovery is no doubt influenced by this, with the all-action former Saints captain clearly prone to problems when overloaded.
But Southgate is a big admirer of Lallana, describing him this month as England’s “best player” and a unique “link player” in his system.
“In my year in charge, Adam Lallana has been our best player and we’ve not had him for the last three matches,” he said.
“There are some players who can unlock defences and score goals.
“Dele [Alli] is an interesting player. If you analyse his game closely he’s a scorer of goals and he’s not necessarily the link player Adam is.”