Dele Alli has opened up about his lack of fitness in the past 18 months and even admitted that he used to take starting for Tottenham for granted.
Speaking in the matchday programme for the defeat against Chelsea, Dele revealed that he is now attempting to make up for lost time this season after a disappointing couple of years.
Dele enjoyed a fantastic start to his Tottenham career, however, a number of hamstring injuries, a dip in form and changes in manager have derailed the 25-year-old’s momentum.
The former MK Dons man had travelled to Dubai during the summer for a fitness camp and was sure to post a number of pictures of him training on his social media platforms, seemingly trying to regain the fitness he lost last season due to a lack of game time.
Dele said: “Fitness is big for me. In the summer I was working a lot. I knew I needed to improve on my fitness from last season so it’s something I took seriously, and I want to build my strength back up and get fitter.
“I think, last season, my fitness levels dropped more than I would have wanted them to, obviously due to not playing and stuff.
“I didn’t feel like I was where I should be, fitness-wise, and I have always prided myself on that – long-distance running and being able to maintain my stamina for a long time.
“I felt like, with the amount I played last season, fitness is something I lost a lot of.
“Coming into the new season, I wanted to make sure I was fit, strong and ready to go.
“I think the way that the modern game is, we want to be able to press, to work hard and maintain the same physical performance throughout a game, and that takes a lot of energy and a lot of stamina which makes fitness a key part of how we want to move going forwards.
“Obviously, it’s not easy and it takes time, so I’m still building on it now, but I feel good, and I think, when your mind’s clear, you’re playing, you’re winning, it is easier to be happy.
“Last season was tough, more because it was something that I wasn’t used to. When I first broke into the team at MK Dons, | was always playing and when | joined here it didn’t take that long for me to be in the starting XI and it was probably something that I took for granted, a little bit.
“Last season was difficult, but it showed me a completely different side to myself as a person, and I came out of it well. I just have to stay focused now, keep working hard and keep doing my best for the team.”
Spurs Web Opinion:
It is unlikely that Dele will return to his blistering form of the 2016/17 season, however the new deeper, box to box role that Nuno has given him may suit him better this season. His improved fitness has shown in the opening games but he still needs to contribute that bit more in the final third.
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