After his first two seasons with Tottenham, Dele Alli could have been forgiven for thinking this Premier League lark was all a bit too easy.
In his first season with Spurs, he scored 10 league goals and provided 12 assists. He bettered that record last term by netting a magnificent 18 league goals and registering 11 assists.
The England international, 21, subsequently cemented his status as one of the most sought-after midfielders on the planet.
He began the current campaign with a bang, too, scoring against Newcastle United and Burnley in August.
However, Alli has scored just one league goal since then - against Liverpool in October - and has flattered to deceive in recent weeks.
He did, however, produce a magnificent performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League at the start of last month, netting a brace in Spurs’ famous 3-1 victory at Wembley. These are the type of top-class performances he’s capable of.
But for some reason, he’s struggling to produce the goods in the Premier League right now.
Alli was subbed off v Watford at 1-1
With five minutes to go against Watford on Saturday, Mauricio Pochettino substituted Alli and sent on Harry Winks in his place.
Spurs, who were drawing 1-1 at the time, needed a goal but Pochettino clearly didn’t feel that Alli was the man to provide it.
Sherwood then made an interesting point about Alli
After the draw, Chris Sutton argued on BT Sport that Alli is underwhelming this season - and this prompted an interesting response from former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood.
“He’s young, he’s developing,” Sherwood said. “We expect so much from him and that’s credit to him that we expect him to do it week in, week out.”
He then made a very interesting point which will seem perfectly reasonable to some people, and complete nonsense to others.
“Fortunately for [Alli], he’s going to have an opportunity to get through it because he’s got a manager who backs him,” Sherwood added, referring to Pochettino.
“If he was at Chelsea now or Man City, he has a barren spell and you’d never see him again.”
Video: Tim Sherwood on Dele Alli
Watch Sherwood give his view on Alli here...
Fair point by Sherwood?
Is Sherwood right? Would Alli be cast into the wilderness if he was at Stamford Bridge or the Etihad Stadium and underperformed? You can certainly see where he's coming from.
Chelsea and Man City fans might disagree, mind.
However, there’s no doubt that Pochettino will stick by Alli, who will surely return to top form sooner rather than later.
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