Dele Alli‘s incredible rise to the top continued on Tuesday as the 19-year-old smashed home a wonderful goal for England in his first international start to lead the Three Lions to a 2-0 win against France at Wembley.
[ MORE: Behind-the-scenes at Wembley ]
The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder only joined Spurs permanently in the summer after breaking through at MK Dons in English soccer’s third-tier but he has already become a regular in Mauricio Pochettino‘s midfield in the Premier League this season. 12 months ago he was playing for MK Dons at places like Yeovil and Barnsley.
With several injuries for England in the midfield area he made the most of his chance to play and was the best player on the pitch against France in the moving, poignant friendly in London after the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday.
Speaking to reporters after the game at Wembley, Hodgson was delighted with Alli’s performance as he’s fast-tracked him to the first team.
“It was as close to a faultless performance as you can get,” Hodgson said. “I did not think he was anything other than top class, it is amazing at that age to have no previous experience and to go in and do what he did tonight was quite outstanding. He will obviously get a lot of praise for that performance, and he deserves a lot of praise.
“I was not surprised as if I did not believe he could play like that, I would not have chosen him. Do not forget he is only 19, he has only played a handful of games, this is his first start and it would be nice if he gets to learn the game without too much glare.”
Now, we’ve been here before with numerous players not just in the world but specifically in England. Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere spring to mind as they all dazzled for England at a young age. All of whom are still Premier League players and regulars in the England squad but none of them have really elevated themselves to be the savior of England and the man the team should be built around. Alli’s dynamic performance in midfield (his tough tackling and vision were hugely impressive) proved he has all the attributes to succeed at the international level but he will, of course, have to keep proving that over a sustained period of time.
His performance against France — who were, understandably, a little off the pace as Hugo Lloris admitted they struggled with “concentration” — was a huge plus for England as a rising star in the Premier League and for England has emerged.
Now it is important, as Hodgson said, to give him time to learn the game and continue his progression. If Alli can continue to progress at his current rate a spot in England’s EURO 2016 squad beckons and that may only be the start for the Spurs starlet.