What’s eating Dele Alli at the moment?
Many problems have emerged for Tottenham at the start of this season, but one of them has been the fading relevance of the England midfielder, who has looked a shadow of his former self since returning from injury.
On the Totally Football Show this week, our panel discussed what the problem might be with Alli.
“I think maybe there’s a case that he’s burned out after playing a lot of football very early in his Premier League career,” said Michael Cox.
“There’s sometimes a question over what he really contributes when he’s not scoring goals, too. His first two seasons, in terms of goalscoring numbers, for a midfielder were exceptional, but I don’t think he’s overwhelmingly creative and I think there’s a question about where he plays.
“I actually like it when he plays deeper, he’s quite combative, he gets stuck in, and he uses the ball quite well. When he plays No.10 I don’t think he influences the game as much as Spurs need.
“I think he’s better either as a second striker, or deep in midfield, so you think if he can do both, the natural position is somewhere in-between. But when he does play in-between, I think the game passes him by.”
James Horncastle thought he might have suffered from the exceptional form of others in the Tottenham squad.
“I used to think he played quite well when they used three at the back, but they don’t seem to do that much anymore. I think since Son has been on this incredible rise, it’s come at the expensive of Alli, in that role as Tottenham’s second striker. Unless it’s rotation, you can’t really not play Son.
Duncan Alexander concurred, suggesting that the changing role of Tottenham’s main man might have impacted on Alli, too.
“The one spell of creativity he had in the Premier League was that season he created a lot of goals for Harry Kane, but Kane was playing in a different role then. He was very much a No.9, but now he’s dropping deep and basically other players have moved into Alli’s space, and he hasn’t really pushed on.”
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