Since his inevitable move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2015, Dele Alli has taken the premier league by storm- exceeding initial expectations which were placed on the, then, 19-year-old and “Football League Young Player of the Year”. Just two years on and entering his third season with Spurs, Alli finds himself as perhaps one of the highest valued players in world football and indeed, a formidable force for both club and country. Having already represented the national side (England) on 19 occasions and his club Tottenham 96 times, at the tender age of 21, Alli has already been compared to the likes of his hero- Steven Gerrard.
Before venturing in to the world of big money and celebrity status as a Premier League footballer, Alli was merely just another aspiring youngster amongst many others. So, how did this kid from Milton Keynes evolve in to the exciting, fierce and at times, magical player that he is today in the world’s most competitive league?
Dele Alli was born in Milton Keynes (1996), where he joined the youth setup of Milton Keynes Dons as an 11-year-old. Instantly, his talent was identified and at the age of 16 and his hard work saw him awarded with the chance in the first team. Grabbing such an opportunity firmly with both hands, Alli became a regular in the side and proved to be not only a prolific and energetic midfielder, but also a big game player, whom was able to reproduce moments of inspiration when the Don’s most needed him. His inspired performance against Man United in the 2014 season epitomised this, and in turn proved to be a catalyst for the big clubs to come calling.
From what I’ve read surrounding Alli and his humble roots, many coaches and players who have worked with him have said that the position he finds himself in now, is simply testimony to himself and his formidable work ethic. This tenacious grit and fire within him is demonstrated in the way he plays- perhaps a little too much at times. However, whenever he has stepped over the mark, many may agree that it is, in many respects, refreshing to see a player fuelled by passion and a pure will to win.
His rapid rise to the top of the game has seen him collect a couple of noteworthy individual accolades already, including the Football League Young Player of the Year award for 2014/2015 and the PFA Young Player of the Year in 2015–16. Despite this, the youngster is still grounded and has maintained the modest and determined attitude that has brought him such success already in his career.
The future appears to hold no bounds for Delli, as he continues to pave the path for young English players. His talent is unquestionable and his application admirable. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before he writes his names in the history books… but for now he remains the same: a youngster doing simply what he loves most and enjoying every moment out on the pitch.