Tottenham ace Dele Alli is making quite the name for himself after emerging as one of the hottest talents in world football.
Earlier this month Alli was included in Squawka’s list of the best players in the world under the age of 23. He is 19.
The midfielder, who made his England debut last year, has played an integral part in Tottenham’s rise to Premier League contenders and is tipped to be included in Roy Hodgson’s squad for this summer’s European Championships.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
England has an annoying habit of hyping up its young talents (see: Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell and Wilfried Zaha), but Alli certainly appears to be the real deal.
Alan Sheared compared him to Glenn Hoddle earlier this year, but in an interview with FourFourTwo, the youngster revealed that his idol was Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.
He said, per the Mirror: “Steven Gerrard was someone I looked up to massively. I’d always try to copy him, right down to the boots he was wearing. It was his attitude on the pitch that stood out - you could really see how much he hated losing.
“The moment that stands out is the goal against West Ham in the FA Cup final. It was a great moment in a huge game, and a great finish too. It's one of the first goals I remember seeing.
"I had a picture with him when I was younger, but I've never spoken to him. I think he'd probably be the only person that would make me a bit star-struck!"
The pair haven’t met, but Gerrard certainly knows all about Alli. In an interview with BT Sport last year, the former England captain admitted he thought Alli was further along in development than he was at the age of 19.
"He looks ahead of me as far as England games and appearances are concerned,” Gerrard said, via the Independent. “He's got more experience because he came through at MK Dons which has helped him progress and make the impact he has done at Tottenham.
"He's a very exciting player; We'll have to see how his career works out but he's got all the tools to become a top player domestically, but also in Europe as well."
Liverpool were interested in signing Alli in the summer of 2014 but Tottenham beat them to it, and Gerrard revealed his sadness that he was unable to enjoy his final season at Anfield with the England star alongside him in midfield.
Alli and Gerrard together in midfield
He continued: “I was actually disappointed Liverpool didn't sign him.
"I thought he was certainly a player Liverpool might've tried to go for, especially with me coming to the end. He's certainly a player that could play for Liverpool for 15 years, he's got that ability."