The modern footballer occupies an odd space in the mass consciousness of a team’s fanbase; one-club men seem to be a thing of the past, players playing for the love of the game seems a distant memory clouded over by Adidas sponsorships and ‘scheduled marketing tweets’. It’s no fault of their own that Spurs’ fans are sceptical of any top performing player and how they may view Spurs (think Bale, Bernatov, Keane, Modric and Carrick etc etc). There’s no denying that for a long time Spurs were seen as a stepping stone to a top side; even our club captain Hugo Lloris took the move to Spurs in the hope of proving himself to gain that move to a bigger side, but for now this seems to have changed, and Dele is the perfect example of this.
When Dele Alli first joined spurs he came shrouded in mystery and rumours, the favourite rumour of pundits and fans alike was that his first ever touch for MK Dons was a back-heel pass. This image of a sixteen-year-old kid stepping onto a League One pitch and showing such confidence did nothing but embolden the hopes Spurs fans had for him. He did not disappoint; lighting up the Premier League and managing to score ten goals and nine assists in his first thirty-three league games for Spurs. Coming with these goals and assists came a certain amount of steel which for Spurs fans hadn’t been seen especially in a centre attacking midfield role for quite some time. In his time at Spurs Dele has racked up forty goals and twenty-seven assists in just one-hundred-and-eighteen league games, he’s also racked up nineteen yellow cards and this is where he has really found himself a special niche in the Spurs fans hearts. Not only is he a genuine goal threat and goal creator he’s also not afraid to get stuck in and give his opponents a good kicking, something all too rare in the modern attacking player.
Yet with this growth, with this great goalscoring-form came that common fear amongst Spurs fans; when’s he going to leave? With Dele it felt as though it was always a case of not ‘if’ more of ‘when’ and ‘who’ the move would be to. Like with any great Spurs players there’s the Real Madrid rumours, the rumours that Dele was learning Spanish so he “could understand Pochettino better” for a period it didn’t look good, but things have changed. There’s no denying that Dele may leave and probably will at some point later on in his career but there’s something no Tottenham fan can deny; that Dele loves Spurs. Whether it be slapping the badge on his chest when he scores one of the best chips I’ve ever seen away at the scum or saying in his post-match interview that “We really felt like we owed you the victory today” could it be? Does Dele Alli ‘get it?’ Dele Alli, Pochettino and Tottenham are a rare thing in football; it’s the right player, with the right manager at the right time, Dele has come on leaps and bounds in the past few years at Spurs and this is down to his progression as a player, Poch’s progression as a manager and Spurs’ progression as a football team.
Dele has grown from a teenager with the world at his feet to a young man easily capable of leading Spurs and England into a very, very bright future. He may for many seem to be the stereotype of a modern player; he dances, he plays Fortnite and loves a handshake but all of that doesn’t matter, because he’s Spurs. He may not stay at Spurs forever, he may leave, but no Spurs fan can say that he didn’t give it his all.
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