“I don’t think Dele Alli will stop any of his mischievous behaviour — he will just get better at disguising it” writes Tony Cascarino is his column for The Times.
The former Republic of Ireland international is of course talking about Dele’s latest misdemeanour when he,for some reason, took a dive in the box against Huddersfield despite Spurs being 3-0 up at the time and was rightfully booked.
Cascarino says Dele will certainly have to become more streetwise.
“The dive against Huddersfield Town on Saturday was blatant and no one wants to see that, but we also have to accept that players making sure they win free kicks and penalties are part of the game. I’m not talking about blatant cheating, I mean getting a nudge in the back or a clip of the heels and going down. The best players in the world do that and going into a World Cup I’m not sure that Southgate (England manager) will want to be missing out on goalscoring opportunities because his players are too honest”
Cascarino continued “Alli has had a rapid rise to the top of the game and he must now realise that with that comes such a spotlight and focus on everything he does. Every niggly challenge with an opponent, every row with a team-mate, every cheap free kick he wins will be spotted.
Opponents also know he has got a fiery character so they will be getting in his face, trying to wind him up and older players will be giving him plenty of abuse — “Who do you think you are?” — as well as plenty of kicks and digs off the ball. He has to learn to deal with that and react in the right way. A little dig back or a subtle reply is fine”
The Sky Tv pundit says for Dele
it is making sure the positive things he does outweigh the side some see as negative. If he’s dominating games and scoring, all the other stuff becomes far less important.
Cascarino is in agreement with the rumblings surrounding him recently & he is no doubt that he has dipped in terms of form and impact from last season.
It was only two short years ago the 21-year-old went up two divisions from playing in League One with MK Dons to the Premier League with us and with all the wealth and fame that have come with his progression, it can become a massive distraction. Cascarino goes on to say “You see Alli in so many adverts these days and they all take up time when he could be training or in the gym trying to improve.”
He also says Alli has definitely got the “swagger of a star” but that he really has to make sure he backs it up with his performances on the pitch.
Cascarino recalls from his playing days with Marseille “I remember playing in France and seeing young players like Fabien Barthez and Zinédine Zidane strutting about and thinking, “Wow, they rate themselves”. But they backed that up with glittering careers”
Cascarino uses Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale as examples that Alli should follow,that they know how to win free kicks and penalties well, but what they have done best is work hard to improve and their progression is clear to see.
The former Millwall forward emphasises what Ronaldo has done progression wise, explaining that he was just “a kid” when he moved to Manchester United, and when he started his game was all about stepovers, diving and the odd long-range shot, but that knuckling down and through sheer hard work he became deadly in front of goal, strong in the air and also a “serious physical unit”.
Cascarino concludes there will always be an edge to Alli to go with his talent but it is now up to the 21 year-old which side of his game he becomes most famous for.
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