Dele Alli determined to keep edge to his game

27 March 2017 10:54

England playmaker Dele Alli has no intention of abandoning his aggressive edge as he deals with the challenge of being a marked man.

The Tottenham midfielder's star is rising all the time but he is also earning a reputation as a player who can be provoked into rashness.

He earned a three-match European ban last month for a nasty challenge on Gent's Brecht Dejaegere, after being on the receiving end of some niggly fouls earlier in the match, and absorbed some heavy treatment during Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

The 20-year-old can expect more of the same as opponents attempt to provoke a reaction but he is working hard to find an acceptable balance.

"There's been a lot said about me and my aggression but I think, to be honest, it's not something I'm going to look to change," he said.

"That's the player I am, I've always been like that since I was younger. It's about getting it under control and I think I've been doing that. But you have to be prepared to fight, to challenge and to get challenged.

"I've got to keep improving and learning.not maybe to play with less aggression but how I react in different situations is something I am looking to improve. I have been working on it, hopefully people can see that.

"Sometimes it can benefit the team if players dive in. If it's going to help the team and get us free-kicks, I don't mind it."

Alli accepts he overstepped the mark against Gent, an error that will come back to haunt him when he is banned next season. It could easily have been worse for his opponent, though, with Seamus Coleman's broken leg last week a reminder of the worst-case scenario when players launch dangerously into tackles.

"It was a horrible moment for me, something I've learned from straight away," he said.

"It's a shame to hear players getting injured like that. I feel sorry for Seamus Coleman and I wish him a speedy recovery. Like I say, I'm sure the guy (Neil Taylor) didn't mean to do that. He definitely wouldn't have meant to injure the player. You go in for tackles and that's the way it is.

"Like my tackle.I felt I was relieved that nothing bad happened to the player. I didn't go in to hurt the player, I went in for the ball but sometimes it can look a lot worse than what happened in your head. I felt horrible after the game and I'm just grateful that nothing happened to him."

Alli will report back from international week looking to end a prolific season on a high.

With 14 goals to his name, he is the top-scoring midfielder in the Premier League and only team-mate Harry Kane has scored more times among Englishmen this term.

That is the kind of return the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard routinely racked up and Alli wants to continue in the same vein.

"I set myself a target of 15 at the start of the season. I've got 17 now, 14 in the league, so I'm definitely going to try to get to 20.

"I wanted to add goals into my game and the formation and way we play at Tottenham this season has allowed me to be higher up the pitch and get goals and assists.

"Hopefully I can keep helping the team and chip in with some more goals."

Source: PA


Trending on the forum