Dele Alli is back in the fold at Tottenham Hotspur.
The England international had seemingly been exiled from the Premier League squad by manager Jose Mourinho, as he went seven games without making the bench following the 6-1 win over Manchester United.
However, he has come on as a late substitute in each of Spurs’ last two league games, against Crystal Palace in the 1-1 draw and Liverpool in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss.
It should be said that the appearances have totalled just eight minutes of football but Alli is perhaps now seen as an option by Mourinho, where before he wasn’t.
Indeed, he has mostly been limited to appearances in the Europa League, playing four times in the group stages and twice in qualifying.
But Paul Robinson, the ex-Spurs goalkeeper, now sees a path back into the first-team for Alli following his cameos this week, forcing Mourinho into something of a U-turn.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “From the outside looking in, you have to commend Dele Alli’s attitude.
“We have not heard anything from him, there has been no, ‘I want to leave.’ Quite often you would hear if a player was unhappy with their manager and it can be quite easy to spit your dummy out but with Dele Alli we have not heard any of that.
“You have to commend him on his attitude and application. When he has played, he has played at the level you would expect him to – if not better. He has taken the opportunities he has been given and he has done exceptionally well when he has come on.
“Alli has kept his head down and worked hard and I think that is what the manager will have been looking from him.
“I think he will come back into the squad and come back into the team and have a big impact this season.”
GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…
If this was a test for Alli, as Robinson alludes to, then he’s passed it.
As the ex-Spurs pro says, Alli got his head down, kept working and is now back on the bench; that can’t be a coincidence.
The next step is likely the starting XI and it feels inevitable at this point that Alli will eventually get his chance.
He is a remarkably talented footballer who is still only 24, he has plenty to give Spurs as the season progresses.
Robinson may be right here, and it could just be that the England international has reacted positively to the gauntlet laid down by his manager.