Ever since Dele Alli burst onto the big stage of the Premier League during the 2015-16 season, the young attacker has been a topic of conversation between Tottenham supporters and opposing fans alike.
Some believe the talented 21-year-old has had a disappointing campaign in 2017-18, but he did quell the talk of his slump by scoring a brace in Spurs’ 3-1 win in the London derby over Chelsea at the weekend.
Tottenham goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris said a player like Alli is still so young that any sort of criticism is still premature.
“It is not easy for (Alli and Paul Pogba) because you need to give them time to get to the right age, to be mature,” the Spurs star told reporters after the Chelsea win, as reported by ESPN.
“But I think Alli has done so well for us, the criticism is a bit unfair. To see or hear criticism, he is so talented – there is a lot of expectation and obviously in football today it is normal that things like that happen. But he stays calm and stays good in his mind.”
Alli has scored eight goals and handed out nine assists in 29 Premier League appearances this season. He added two goals and set four more up for Spurs in this season’s Champions League as well.
Alli’s two second-half strikes against Chelsea lifted Tottenham to their first win at Stamford Bridge since 1990 and moved Mauricio Pochettino’s men eight points clear of their London rivals for fourth in the Premier League.
As of now, Spurs’ place in next season’s Champions League looks all but secured. You don’t need a long list of football betting tips to realise that Chelsea’s hopes of participation next season appear dead in the water.
Alli seems to have taken more of a playmaking role for Tottenham this season. The nine assists ties a career-high for a season with several matches still to play. The dip in goals has left some fans concerned, however, especially considering he bagged 18 in Premier League play last season.
“He is human,” Lloris continued.
“You can always have some doubt in a difficult time but I don’t think it is a difficult time for him. He didn’t play [for England] and he came back to training with a big willingness to show his quality and I think he is ready to finish the season strong.”
While Tottenham were beaten in the round of 16 of Champions League by Juventus, there is still a potential trophy on the horizon. Spurs will face Pogba’s Manchester United side on April 21 in the semi-final of the FA Cup at Wembley.
While they have fallen short in their quest for Premier League and European glory again this season, Lloris believes winning the FA Cup this season could be a potential harbinger of future success for Pochettino’s side.
“The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world and there are a lot of great teams and we’ve reduced the gap to them and that is the main thing,” he said.
“Tottenham has to stay at this level at least. With the new stadium, something big is waiting for us and we cannot see this future without the Champions League.”