After seeing a resurgence in form from Gareth Bale, it’s now time for Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho to unleash forgotten star Dele Alli in the final third of this campaign.
The league season has not gone to plan for Spurs overall.
They find themselves eighth in the Premier League table, six points behind the top four and behind all but one of their main rivals, though they have advanced into the last 16 of the Europa League and have a genuine shot at winning silverware with the Carabao Cup final on the horizon.
But this means that games will be coming thick and fast every week, and thus, the Portuguese stalwart will need his entire squad to be at the races.
Bale had barely featured for the north London club until recently – indeed, the Welsh superstar has only played 1,000 minutes in all competitions for a total of 20 appearances (just 12 starts), as per Transfermarkt.
But in his last four appearances, the 31-year-old has delivered four goals and three assists to help arrest the poor run of form Spurs had found themselves in.
This, ultimately, needs to be the masterplan for Alli to refind his feet in N17.
The 24-year-old, who is valued at €30m (£26m), has played fewer minutes (737) but he too showed flashes of his old ability in their 4-0 win over Wolfsberger last week, delivering one goal and a brace of assists.
After the game, the Spurs boss waxed lyrical about the rarely-seen playmaker, he said (via the Evening Standard): “He is playing very well” before adding: “The goal was beautiful, but the meaning of the assists and hard work for the team means more to me. That work of continuity in the performance is what makes me really happy.”
Mourinho has largely relied on the goalscoring exploits of Harry Kane and Heung-min Son as the duo account for xx% of their league goals this term, whilst no player has stepped up to fill the void left behind by Christian Eriksen in the no.10 role.
And with Tanguy Ndombele being deployed in a deeper position, alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, there is a spot up for grabs alongside Bale, Son and Kane.
Both Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela have been deployed there, but it is Alli who is the better and more natural fit – just imagine him and Bale if he manages to rediscover form.
In three of his last six Premier League campaigns, Alli has delivered at least nine goals and seven assists and throughout his Spurs and competitive England career, the attacking maestro has averaged 1.4 key passes per game, even despite playing only 138 minutes this season, via WhoScored.
By comparison, Moura averages only 0.7 in the role, while Lamela can only muster up 0.4 per game across all positions played. Similarly, Kane and Son are the only players managing above one key pass per league outing.
There is evidently a need for creativity, and this is something Alli can provide, if Mourinho can get him back to his best and considering Bale’s drastic turnaround, it is certainly possible.
Alli must now be unleashed alongside Bale, Kane and Son. That’s a front four capable of striking fear into any side.