During the summer of 2018, the hopes of the nation will be resting on the shoulders of the English national football team, who will be going in search of World Cup glory in Russia under the management
During the summer of 2018, the hopes of the nation will be resting on the shoulders of the English national football team, who will be going in search of World Cup glory in Russia under the management of Gareth Southgate, who will be overseeing his first major competition since his appointment.
Southgate has put together an exciting group of players during his short time as England manager, with plenty of young talent set to be included in the squad that travels to Russia this summer. Tottenham Hotspur are set to be well represented within the England squad, with many believing that the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli hold the key to success for England.
However, Spurs’ form in the Premier League during the first-half of the 2017/18 campaign has been indifferent, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side far more successful in Europe this season. Kane has been at his goalscoring best for large parts, but there is no doubt that Alli has struggled to replicate the form that saw him burst onto the scene and earn the reputation as one of England’s most promising young players.
Just a few months ago it appeared the hopes of the nation were resting on the shoulders of Kane and Alli, and whilst the likelihood is the former will still spearhead England’s attack, there are serious questions surrounding Alli, who is struggling for form and has recently had
his discipline called into question once again following a horrendous tackle on Kevin De Bruyne in Spurs’ 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in mid-December.
That defeat left Tottenham, who had aspirations of challenging for the title this season, a mammoth 21 points adrift of City, with Pep Guardiola’s side now overwhelming favourites to pick up the Premier League title in May, with odds of just 2/1 being offered on City success this season, whilst customers when using BTC can find an array of other odds on the remainder of the Premier League season.
Despite Alli’s growing reputation over the last couple of years, it was one of City’s young English stars who shone in the 4-1 triumph over Tottenham, with Raheem Sterling, arguably England’s in-form player heading into the festive period, grabbing two goals and stealing plenty of headlines, whilst Alli’s performance was remembered for a shocking challenge on De Bruyne, which he was lucky to escape without a red-card and lengthy suspension.
There is little doubting Alli’s ability, and since his move to North London from MK Dons back in 2015, he has been a revelation in the Premier League, whilst also establishing himself as a full England international under Roy Hodgson, Sam Allardyce, albeit briefly, and now Southgate.
Alli’s class has often shone through, with moments of magic in both of his full seasons with Spurs in the Premier League. During his first campaign at White Hart Lane, the 21-year- old produced an outrageous piece of skill against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, which finished with the attacking midfielder sweeping a fine volley into the bottom corner.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 13, 2016
Last year, as Spurs once again went in search of a Premier League title, Alli produced a mesmerising display against Chelsea, with the England international executing two inch- perfect headers against the eventual 2016/17 champions, handing Antonio Conte’s side one of very few defeats they suffered over the course of the season.
Of course, controversy has still plagued Alli during his time with Tottenham, with a ban handed to the youngster for an off-the- ball incident involving Claudio Yacob in 2016. Alli was also sent-off in last year’s Europa League campaign for a horrendous tackle, as well as involvement in a bizarre incident where he was handed a one-match ban internationally for a middle finger gesture.
All that was prior to the controversial tackle on De Bruyne in the defeat to City, and whilst it is easy to highlight Alli’s misdemeanours and question his temperament in the big games, his goalscoring record has been fantastic. The 21-year- old has formed an excellent partnership with Kane, both domestically and internationally, as well as producing performances in big games, including last season’s victory over Chelsea, and not to mention, this season’s triumph over Real Madrid in the Champions League, on what was a memorable evening at Wembley for Spurs.
During his debut campaign in the Premier League, following his move from MK Dons, Alli was exceptional for Spurs, scoring 10 goals as Spurs put the pressure on Leicester City in the title race, whilst also producing performances worthy of an England call-up, with the midfielder also scoring on his debut against France.
Last season, there was more expectation on Alli, but he once again delivered domestically and internationally, helping both Spurs and England. In 57 appearances for club and country, Alli bagged 23 goals, but between him and Kane, they failed to inspire Spurs to seriously challenge for a trophy, with their push in both the Premier League and FA Cup falling short.
This year, Alli has been good, but far from his best, which is a huge concern heading into a World Cup year. The likes of Sterling with Manchester City have been far more impressive, whilst at Manchester United, Marcus Rashford’s reputation continues to grow, whilst even
the likes of Jesse Lingard will be putting himself into Southgate’s thoughts with some impressive performances of late.
During the summer, Alli will be included in Southgate’s England squad, unless injury or an even worse slump in form comes. However, the midfielder will have to seriously improve his form over the course of the second-half of the season if he is to be guaranteed a place in the starting XI for England’s opening group game against Tunisia on June 18 th.
For now, Sterling is looking like England’s best attacking outlet, whilst the likes of Rashford and Lingard will be pushing Alli further down the pecking order on current form, with the latter’s temperament coming into question, with his form poor and a lot of focus on the tackle he made in the clash with Man City. However, with the World Cup slowly creeping up on us and Spurs’ form in the Premier League proving to be a major concern, the 21-year- old will be tasked with returning to his best during the second-half of the season and making headlines with improved performances.