Former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness has said that it is time for Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli to have a period of self-reflection and ask himself why he hasn’t hit the heights that he was expected to.
Dele burst into the scene after signing for Spurs from MK Dons in the summer of 2015 and had two outstanding seasons playing in the role just behind Harry Kane.
The midfielder has since then suffered recurring issues with his left hamstring (Guardian) and has struggled to get a consistent run of games.
As a result, his performances for Spurs have suffered and he even found himself being dropped from the England squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers earlier in the month.
Souness has insisted that it is time for the 23-year-old to take a good look in the mirror and get back to enjoying his football again.
In his column in the Sunday Times, the Liverpool legend wrote: “Two years ago, I thought Dele Alli was going to be a superstar. A modern-day goalscoring midfielder from the same mould as Terry McDermott, my partner at Liverpool, or, more recently, Frank Lampard at Chelsea.
“Somebody who could be relied upon to get well into double figures in terms of goals every season for their club.
“Instead he’s stagnated. Why? Will he point to the hamstring injuries he’s had? Is he blaming the training at Tottenham or his team-mates? He has to look at himself first, in the mirror in the morning when he’s shaving, and ask: ‘Why have I not progressed?’
“He needs to ask why Harry Kane has kicked on and handled all the peripheral stuff that comes with being a top player, and he hasn’t. Can he honestly say he’s been fully focused on his football or has he forgotten what made him kick a ball in the first place?
“It should still be the priority. Why would you allow your eye to be taken off the ball? When you were a little boy you loved doing it, so get back to the basics of being in love with the game again.”
It is claimed that Alli is looking cut back on the commercial deals and other off the pitch commitments in order to concentrate on his football. Souness feels that is a move in the right direction for the England international.
He added, “That’s a sensible first step towards getting back to his best, to the player who scored 23 goals in 57 games for club and country in 2016-17, rather than the one who managed seven in 45 games last season.
“I’m always concerned that young players stagnate as Alli has because they get too much, too soon.
“There’s never been a more lucrative era to be a professional in Britain, but the danger is that if you give them the dosh they get into their armchairs and don’t fulfil their promise as players. It happens too often to be a coincidence.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It is good to see that Alli is now getting a run of games in the side. I believe a lot of the criticism he has been getting has been unfair and I am still confident that he will get back to the level he was at a couple of years ago once he gets up to speed. He is still very young and I believe he still has the potential to become one of the best in his position.
Have something to tell us about this article?