Young Talent of the Week: Dele Alli
January 31, 2016:
Central midfielder for Tottenham Dele Alli, 20, is one of England’s future stars who has already shown glimpses of what he can achieve. Already being compared to England greats Steven Gerard and Frank Lampard, Delle Alli has some high expectations to live put to at the young Tottenham side.
With League One side MK Dons, Dele Alli showed huge potential and played a key role in the side’s attack. At the young age of 19, he was picked up by Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham Hotspur last summer for €5 million and has recently broken through the young Tottenham side.
Alli has had 6 goals and 4 assists in 18 appearances so far in the Premier League. He is known for his attacking abilities; his technical skill in shooting and short passing (or example, here is his incredible game winner versus Crystal Palace on January 23), his ability to play on the wings at times, his solid dribbling for his age (but could use development) and his exceptional off-ball movement are all defining qualities of this young player. He does need to work on his dribbling and his aerial ability, but his defensive qualities are all solid (especially his tracking back and man marking)
Mauricio Pochettino has given him opportunities to play this season, but he hasn’t played a consistently important role in attacking play as of yet and has been more defensively oriented and crucial to Tottenham’s forward press (his energy sparks the rest of the team’s pressing). While he does venture forward in attack frequently and often contribute to goal scoring opportunities, the main creative roles of the team lie with Christian Eriksen and Eric Dier.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about Alli is his huge versatility and defiance of the traditional midfield categories that most young midfielders adopt. Pochettino is known for his youthful team and giving young players a chance to fit into the system, which Alli has done – he has excelled as a defensive minded midfielder, an attacking midfielder, a balanced and controlling central midfielder, and at times a box-to-box midfielder. Instead of fitting into a predesigned box like most other young midfielders around the world, Alli has the potential to redefine the role of the midfielder and transform the game like so many greats before him have done.