To give a Man-of-the-Match performance and score your first England goal, a screamer at that, on your full international debut is the stuff every child dreams of. And that’s exactly what happened to Tottenham’s Dele Alli on Tuesday night as he left everyone asking the question, how good can this lad actually become?
After his standout performance for the Three Lions we take a look at the Buckinghamshire born 19-year-old’s rapid rise to fame.
Where did it all begin?
Born in Milton Keynes, Alli joined the MK Dons youth academy at the age of 11 in 2007. He came up through the ranks at the club and earned a professional contract after finishing as the under-18 side’s top scorer with 17 goals. He was then handed his full-team debut in 2012 at the age of 16. His first touch as a professional footballer in that game was an infamous back-heeled pass which his manager at the time, Karl Robinson, joked that he was ‘going to throttle him’ for.
What happened next?
Within two years of that debut, he was a regular at the Dons. In the 2014/15 season, Alli took League One by storm, scoring 16 goals as MK Dons secured promotion to the Championship for the first time. He also picked up the PFA Football League Young Player of the Year award too, so not a bad campaign for the youngster.
After playing a starring role in MK Dons’ 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United in the Capital one Cup, the then 18-year-old was linked with a host of clubs before eventually signing for Tottenham for £5 million on Deadline Day in the 2015 January transfer window. Spurs then loaned him back for the rest of the season.
What are his main attributes?
At 6 ft 2, he is not easily bullied off the ball and has already earned a reputation for a crunching tackle. It’s clear that the 19-year-old has a real footballing mind and can read the game very well. His technical ability is second to none and Alli has already produced performances far beyond his years, with his Man-of-the-Match performance in the recent North London Derby a perfect example of the type of player that he is rapidly becoming.
How good can he be?
After Tuesday’s performance against France, many fans and pundits are raving about how far Alli could go. He showed composure and class much beyond his years against a very good opposition and there could be no stopping to his ability.
He also seems to have found a great partnership for club and country in Eric Dier and if he keeps playing regularly to the same level he is at the moment, then Alli could go on to be a top player and one of the best talents England has produced in a long time. However, we’ve said this about a number of players before and it’s important we don’t build him up too much at this early stage.