This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Dele Alli has to be a key member of England’s squad at Euro 2020 following his return to form at Tottenham Hotspur.
The attacking midfielder has been in excellent form since the arrival of Jose Mourinho as manager at Old Trafford.
He has scored three goals in three games, including a brace against AFC Bournemouth on Saturday, and has been praised by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.
Indeed, Alli has not been included in either of the last two squads that the former Middlesbrough boss has named.
In that time, England have beaten Bulgaria twice, Kosovo twice, Montenegro and also lost to the Czech Republic. In those games, Southgate’s men have scored 27 goals and conceded just five.
They have also qualified for Euro 2020 and will face Croatia and the Czechs in their group plus one other team that could well be Scotland.
All seems well, then.
But they don’t have a player with the skillset that Alli possesses.
There a number of attacking midfielders who can play under Southgate, including Chelsea duo Mason Mount and Ross Barkley, Leicester City’s James Maddison and Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, but none of them have the goalscoring power of the Spurs man.
Mount has never scored more than eight goals in senior football; Grealish’s highest tally is six and that came in the Championship; Maddison scored 14 in 2017/18 for Norwich City in the second-tier; Barkley’s highest tally is eight, coming in 2015/16.
Alli, by comparison, scored 10 in the Premier League in 15/16, then 18, nine and five.
There has been a notable dip there but he is already on four in seven games this season and his killer instincts make him a genuinely brilliant option for Southgate.
He has a heap of attacking talent at his disposal, with the likes of Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi all available to be selected, and supplementing that with Alli would ensure that goals can come from every single position from central midfield onwards.
It is now on Alli to ensure that he keeps hitting the back of the net on a consistent basis but if he can do that, he has to be an integral member of Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad.
Meanwhile, one Spurs ace could thrive in a new role.