Dele Alli answered his critics defiantly on Sunday with a silky second half double at Chelsea to end Tottenham’s 28-year wait for a win at Stamford Bridge.
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After a disappointing week away with the English national team, Alli delivered on his 100th Premier League appearance.
Alli, 21, played 22 minutes for England during the international break as he didn’t even feature against Italy and manager Gareth Southgate seemed to suggest it was down to the form of the Tottenham midfielder. All the talk was about the demise of Alli…
Well, Southgate won’t have to worry Alli being out of form any longer as his first goal against Chelsea was a thing of beauty as he plucked the ball out of the air delicately before rifling home an instinctive finish off the post. His second was a calm finish as he slinked around the box to heap misery on the Chelsea fans booing his every touch.
Despite his two-goal display, Alli knows one thing: haters gonna hate.
“I’m sure people will still be disappointed with the way I’ve played. They’ll have something to say,” Alli told Sky Sports. “For me, it was just about helping the team as much as I can. Like I’ve said before, what people say, I try not to let it affect me as much as I can. I don’t think I had a point to prove. I just had to get into the starting 11 and help the team.”
Alli has had an up and down season for Spurs in his third season in the Premier League but it’s like everyone has forgotten that he won two-straight PFA Young Player of the Year awards in his first two seasons in the PL, scoring 28 goals over the two campaigns. Talk about his dives in and around the box and his hot-headed demeanor has intensified since his form has tailed off somewhat but he still has eight goals this season and is on track to get double figures for the third season on the trot in the PL.
The only midfielder in Premier League history to score or assist more goals in his first 100 games is Matt Le Tissier as Alli continues to churn out key performances. With Harry Kane missing from the starting lineup through injury on Sunday, he stood tall at Stamford Bridge to deliver a long-awaited win for Tottenham.
At 21 years of age he still has plenty of maturing to do but as his manager Mauricio Pochettino said to NBC’s analysts after the game, we have to realize just how much pressure is on Alli at such a young age.
Every time he has been questioned or criticized he always has an answer. That is the sign of a top class player and that is exactly what Alli is.