Dele Alli’s remarkable ascent continued with a man-of-the-match display on his first England start, but there appears no chance of the teenager getting carried away.
Just six and a half months on from helping home-town club MK Dons out of League One, the 19-year-old has established himself at Tottenham and on Tuesday shone for Roy Hodgson’s men at Wembley.
As impressive off the ball as he was on it, the midfielder’s first international start brought with it a memorable goal as he took aim from 25 yards and beat club team-mate Hugo Lloris as half-time approached.
Alli then started the move finished by Wayne Rooney to wrap up a 2-0 win on a night when England stood shoulder-to-shoulder with France just days after 129 people were killed in the Paris terror attacks.
“It was important that we showed we are here for them and thinking about what happened,” Alli said of the touching night of solidarity.
“It was a tragedy. It was an emotional night for both teams and I think it showed before the game.
“But I think it was important that we focused on the game as soon as that whistle went and I thought we played well.
“Obviously to get the goal here at Wembley (was great), but I think it was important that we got the win and thankfully I got the goal.
“I think sometimes it can sort of put a downer on it if you don’t get the result you want.
“First, most importantly, we got the win and then thankfully I got the goal with it.”
Alli’s rise certainly shows no signs of abating and his performance on just his fourth England appearance certainly puts pressure on the experienced midfielders currently sidelined.
“I am not going to look too far forward – I’ve still got a lot to learn,” the level-headed midfielder said when the subject of Euro 2016 was broached.
“I am just going to go back to my club and keep doing as well as I can and whatever happens, happens.”
Alli remains “grateful even to get the call up” and plans to frame Tuesday’s matchday shirt after his England team-mates all signed it.
He was not the only Tottenham midfielder to be handed his first start against France, though, with Eric Dier’s transformation from defender to accomplished defensive midfielder rewarded by Hodgson.
“He is obviously a great player and it makes it a lot easier when you know you’ve got that security behind you,” Alli said.
“I put a lot of trust into him and he puts a lot of trust into me.
“It’s a bit of a funny relationship but he’s a great guy and I couldn’t think of anyone better to play with.”
Alli admits it has been “a bit of a crazy start” to the season for Dier and himself, and was quick to thank Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino for giving them a chance at White Hart Lane.
“I think it’s a great thing for the manager, you know? He puts a lot of trust into youngsters and I think it shows,” he said.
“We’re all playing well at the minute at Tottenham and we’re just going to keep focused and keep trying to improve.”
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