Dele Alli is pivotal to Spurs’ success. After facing criticism about his temperament and questions as to whether he could replicate his form in his second season, this season, he is proving just how special he truly is.
The rise to Premier League stardom started when he scored an equaliser against Leicester City last season. But he received his footballing education with Karl Robinson at MK Dons, spending two full seasons in League One before his move to Spurs.
Talent and dedication are all very well and something Alli has in abundance, but you need a platform on which to perform and that’s something that has been provided to him at Tottenham. He needed a club that looked after young players and a coach who trusts them fully which Spurs have become a symbol for in recent years.
What other club of Tottenham’s size would have given a teenage midfielder 46 appearances in his debut season?
Had Alli moved to Liverpool or Manchester City, would he have been on the pitch as regularly as he is for Tottenham? Would he have been sitting on the bench for ‘experience’, out on loan, or preparing to play an U-21 game in front of a double-figure crowd?
Not since the early days of this century have England produced a central midfielder with the capability to move box-to-box. Alli has drawn a number of comparisons to Chelsea and England legend Frank Lampard lately, and it’s not difficult to see why.
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) October 15, 2016
The Tottenham midfielder is already surpassing Lampard’s record at the same stage of his career and when Alan Shearer stated he could accomplish what Lampard achieved in the game he was roundly mocked, but Alli is completely deserving of his comparison. His strike against West Brom last Saturday moved him up to 13 goals in 41 league games, whilst Chelsea icon Lampard – who is considered by many as the best goal-scoring midfielder of his generation – scored just three over the same period.
The prodigious Alli has also registered nine Premier league assists in those 41 games, whereas Lampard could only register two in the that period. Statistics can sometimes prove deceiving, but how can stats such as this lie when Alli was registering a goal every 280 minutes whilst Lampard was only managing a goal every 700 minutes.
Spurs’ inspired season last year had a number of fundamental factors, and Alli was one of their successes. At the end of the season, Alli’s form dwindled and he experienced his first rough patch as a Premier League player. It’s not the poor form that determines the quality of a player but the mindset he holds to overcome such a bad patch and come out the other side even stronger.
He has done exactly that this season scoring crucial goals in recent times. Goals against Manchester City and a last-minute equalizer against West Brom will do him justice, but his overall play in dominating games has become even greater than last season – and that’s a scary thought for opposition fans as Tottenham go in pursuit of a first Premier League title.