While Harry Kane has continued from where he left off last season and is improving all the time, his Tottenham and England teammate Dele Alli is enduring a surprisingly difficult campaign.
This was expected to be the season that Alli would cement his reputation as one of the world’s best central midfielders following two outstanding campaigns with Spurs.
However, Alli has flattered to deceive so far this term - particularly in the Premier League - and aside from his disappointing performances, has been criticised for some of the challenges he’s produced in recent weeks.
The 21-year-old was lucky to avoid a straight red card for a wild tackle on Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne last week.
“It was a dangerous action,” City boss Pep Guardiola said in his post-match interview.
Alli lucky to avoid red card v Burnley
And seven days later, just four minutes into Spurs’ away match against Burnley on Saturday evening, Alli was again fortunate to avoid a sending off following another dangerous tackle - this time on Charlie Taylor.
BT Sport conducted a poll on Twitter and more than half of the 3,658 football fans who voted felt Alli should have seen red.
"It was a tough one - Dele Alli is out of control, he was never going to get the ball," Burnley boss Sean Dyche said after the match. "A number of years ago that was just a big challenge, but it's a tough one today - an orange card.”
Steven Gerrard made a great point about Alli
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard was on punditry duty for BT Sport and made a perfectly valid point about the midfielder.
“He has to channel it right, of course he does,” Gerrard said when asked about Alli’s aggression.
“I was a bit similar. I played on the edge and I played with emotions and that’s the reason we love Dele Alli.
“You can’t take all that out of his game, otherwise he won’t be the same player.”
(Skip to 5 mins in this video to watch Gerrard give his thoughts on Alli...)
Gerrard: Alli was tremendous v Burnley
Gerrard is in a very good position to speak, having been guilty of making similarly rash challenges during the early years of his career.
It seems it’s all part of the learning process for Alli, who is still learning the game and not quite the finished article just yet.
“Tottenham were good today, they were back, and it was the reaction that the manager needed - especially after last week’s mauling that they got against City,” Gerrard added. "I thought Dele Alli epitomised that.
“I know people talk about the challenge but sometimes you need a collision or challenge like that to get everyone going. I thought he was tremendous today.”
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