The English media has a habit of prematurely hyping up its players and Steven Gerrard is keen to ensure Dele Alli doesn’t become the next big flop.
The Liverpool legend believes the wonderkid has taken on the reputation he earned in 2000, and Wayne Rooney had in 2004, as the man who can do no wrong.
As well as heaping praise on Alli, Gerrard also had a few words of advice for the former MK Dons man - 'enjoy the moment, because it only gets tougher from here'.
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Alli, 19, has been a revelation this season and it’s easy to see why Sir Alex Ferguson called him the best young midfielder since Paul Gascoigne.
He looks a shoe-in to start for Roy Hodgson’s team at this summer’s European Championship and Gerrard is interested to see how the Tottenham player will cope on the big stage.
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The LA Galaxy man wrote in his Telegraph column: “If I could offer one piece of advice to Dele Alli and the England youngsters vying for a European Championship spot it’s this: embrace the moment because now it’s going to get really tough.
“The last thing I want to do is put a dampener on the enthusiasm for our prospects this summer – I was as excited as everyone by our performance against Germany – but two assets most lacking in the build-up to a major tournament tend to be calmness and perspective.
“Alli has quickly become a symbol for what is possible for England in France and deserves credit for that - the clamour for a newly formed young side was at full pelt after the win over the world champions. I am loving watching Alli play at the moment and want to see him have more opportunities.
“There is so much to like about how he plays the game. He has technique and attitude. It’s not just his skill I admire, but his temperament. I like his football arrogance where he absorbs every challenge and gets on the ball as if he belongs on the biggest of stages.
“And I like that touch of nastiness he has – not in a bad way – but where he is not going to be intimidated on the pitch but will bully opponents rather than let himself be bullied.”
Alli is the next generation
Alli made his England debut against France last October and has gone on to make six appearances for his country.
He has been held up as one of the leaders of the next generation - one that includes Harry Kane, John Stones and Eric Dier - but Gerrard isn’t happy with England’s habit of discarding older players whenever a young crop of talent arises.
“It’s part of our culture to pounce on young players and become their biggest champions because it seems a fresher, more dynamic and forward-thinking approach,” the 35-year-old added.
“As a country we can’t wait to discard those who’ve been around for a long-time no matter how invaluable their experience. We grow tired and unappreciative of players too quickly. Exciting youngsters seem to offer a ready-made solution.”
Gerrard has one foot on-board the hype-train, but he’s not yet willing to fully commit.
Can Dele Alli lead England to Euro 2016 glory? Have your say in the comments section below!
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