Player Watch...Dele Alli

Donki

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Seems Mourinho has thrown down the gauntlet and it's up to Dele to take on the challenge. It will either spur Dele on or convince Mourinho he's not got what it takes. Dele's had a bit of a comfy ride so far and hasn't been under this type of pressure and scrutiny and it's about time he fought for his place.
 

Wheeler Dealer

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I think he will leave if you want my honest opinion, and honestly I don't really care. He has been infuriating for 2-3 seasons now, he was constantly given a by ball by Poch, Jose warned him and has now clearly called him on it and has threw the head up. The ball is in his court but I have a feeling he will be another young player who will regret the acts of his youth.
He appears to have been far more effective playing for a coach who sets their team up to press high and is focused on maintaining possession, as opposed to a coach who sits deep and counters. I also believe that the team of 3-4 years ago was far superior to one we have now and maybe he was a luxury we could accommodate then, but definitely not now.
 

Ledders Army

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I dont think dele problem is a lack of ability or attitude its more to do with him not really fitting the system or having a role. He isnt really a wide player though i thought in his early days he did play wide left quite abit. He isnt the most mobile and as hes got older rather than playing on instincts he seems to dwell on a pass or slow play more down than he did. The only position he truly execels in is more of a number 10/ 2nd striker where he make late runs but doesnt offer enough defensively for mourinho to want him to play in the 3 i dont think. Hope he moves for the sake of his career and rediscovers the magic ans promise he showed as a young kid.
I think this is spot on. Football's moved on from the Lampard & Gerrard days but that's the type of footballer Dele is & his stats at the same age are better than theirs. Unfortunately formations have changed the game's changed & it's hard to find a position for Dele.

He's home grown so I'd keep him & try to give him enough opportunities playing from the left in a 433 or as the closest to the striker in more of a 451.

He's still a very talented player & it's a squad game now so we need to keep him happy to stay
 

thebenjamin

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I dont think dele problem is a lack of ability or attitude its more to do with him not really fitting the system or having a role. He isnt really a wide player though i thought in his early days he did play wide left quite abit. He isnt the most mobile and as hes got older rather than playing on instincts he seems to dwell on a pass or slow play more down than he did. The only position he truly execels in is more of a number 10/ 2nd striker where he make late runs but doesnt offer enough defensively for mourinho to want him to play in the 3 i dont think. Hope he moves for the sake of his career and rediscovers the magic ans promise he showed as a young kid.
Problem is he's got no pace. So playing wide is very difficult. And if we play with one striker and two fast wide players, then where does he fit? And as there are others who play better then him deep...

The conundrum is he's our only goalscorer other than Kane and Son. Compare his statistical output to lucas and its night and day.

In reality, the signing of Bale has done for Dele.
 

guernman

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Dele isn't going to be an automatic pick in our new improved starting 11. He can still be a very useful part of the squad though.

The question is simply how he chooses to react to this new reality.
 

Marty

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Daniel Taylor is bang on the money here for me. Dele is a conundrum and it's increasingly hard to see where he fits in.

Dele Alli cannot say he was not warned.

“I’m going to be a pain in the arse on you,” Jose Mourinho told him, after just a few days as Tottenham Hotspur manager. “And you are lucky. You are lucky because when I am a pain in the arse it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing. Come on, kid.”

True, Mourinho did also mention that he had already worked out Dele was “fucking lazy”, but not with any real malice in his voice. There was a playful slap of the player’s chest. Note the use of the word “kid”. It was a friendly warning that, yes, Mourinho might come down hard on Dele but only because he liked him, rated him as a player and wanted it to work between them. Which, if you know the way Mourinho operates, is a whole lot better than the alternative.

Paul Pogba will know all about that from their time at Manchester United. Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and a few others, too. Eden Hazard is another one, from Mourinho’s second spell at Chelsea. The list is considerable, to say the least. And, Mourinho being Mourinho, there are plenty of examples of it spiralling into unpleasantness.

Pedro Leon was one of the players who locked horns with him at Real Madrid. Mourinho, it was reported, told Leon that even if the team plane crashed, leaving him as their only player, he still would not pick him for the next game. He’s a proper charmer, Jose, sometimes. Heart of gold — yellow and hard.

It doesn’t always make him wrong, though.

Mourinho, like Dele, might not be in the best form of his life but he has been managing elite players for the best part of 20 years and, however lousy he might act sometimes, he does also know what it takes to compete, and win, at the highest level.

Maybe he was right to think a player with Hazard’s gifts ought to be dominating, rather than merely decorating, matches for Chelsea in those years. Maybe he had a point when he complained that Pogba needed to produce something more consistent and meaningful.

It pains Mourinho to see supremely talented footballers who, in his mind, could offer so much more. It is one of the reasons there has been so much conflict throughout his career. It is also one of the reasons he could fill an aircraft hangar with all the trophies he has accumulated.

Maybe he has a point about Dele, too. It is too easy sometimes just to roll your eyes and take the view that — well, whaddya know? — it is typical Mourinho, always picking fights, and more of the same.

Jermaine Jenas, the former Spurs player, is the latest to pick up this baton on Dele’s behalf. Dele, he pointed out, had flourished when Mourinho took over the team last November. So, what was Mourinho thinking?

“How do you go from that to just completely casting aside a young 24-year-old who is maybe struggling for form?” Jenas asked. “He (Mourinho) has previous with young players like (Marcus) Rashford, like Luke Shaw and so forth. This doesn’t sit right with me, the way he (Dele) has been treated, even if he’s not performing at the level he should be. Which is why, if I was Dele, I’d be looking to move on.”

The problem there is that Jenas has answered his own question. Dele is struggling for form, not performing at the level he should be, and it has been that way for some time. There was a mini-renaissance after Mourinho’s appointment when Dele was shifted into a more attacking role and scored five goals in seven games. But it didn’t last. And that, in a nutshell, is Mourinho’s issue.

Dele has reverted to being a puzzle. It isn’t easy to know where he fits into the team. He likes to be a No 10, but Spurs are increasingly a 4-3-3 operation. Other players deserve to be ahead of him. And we haven’t mentioned yet that Spurs have just signed some fella from Real Madrid. Gareth Bale might expect to go straight into the team and, to be fair to Mourinho, Spurs hardly missed Dele when he was left out of their last Premier League game and they came away from Southampton with a freewheeling 5-2 win.

As for being “completely cast aside”, that isn’t actually true. And, besides, shouldn’t the emphasis here be on Dele and, specifically, what is bugging him?

Spurs have played two league games so far and Dele was in the starting line-up for the first one. He played badly and was substituted at half-time of a home defeat to Everton.

He was brought back for the midweek trip to North Macedonia and played an hour of the 3-1 win against Shkendija. OK, he should probably not take that as a hugely positive sign (no player wants to be left out of Premier League fixtures and then called up for a Thursday-night assignment at one of the Europa League’s unpronounceable outposts). But it is intriguing to hear a manager being criticised for picking the players who are in good form, rather than the ones who are not, when this is probably the first requirement of the job.

Mourinho has been measured in what he says in press conferences. There has been no spite in his voice. He has said he wants Dele to knuckle down and that the player will remain at Spurs. He is still talking about Dele being a “nice kid” even if, deep down, he is actually more frustrated with him than he might be willing to let on. The only criticism of Mourinho that seems valid here is that he has been unable to solve the puzzle.

Perhaps you have seen the scene on the All or Nothing documentary when Mourinho is sitting opposite the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, regaling a conversation from his time as Manchester United manager.

“Sir Alex Ferguson gave me only one bit of advice in two and a half years, ‘Buy Dele Alli. That guy, that mentality, the way he plays, the aggression he has in his mind, this guy is a Manchester United player. Buy that guy.’ And he (Ferguson) has an eye for players.”

Mourinho didn’t say this with admiration in his voice. It was regret, dismay, mystification. They were discussing the player’s deterioration. “I told Dele very directly,” Mourinho says. “He doesn’t train well. He’s not a good trainer. I’m not saying a disaster, but I’m not saying a Harry Kane. Harry Kane is a very good trainer.”

The camera pans to Levy and he, too, looks out of answers. Levy holds his hand above his head. “Two years ago,” he says, “he was up here.”

Interesting stuff. Just not so much, perhaps, if you are the player in question and now everyone who follows the sport knows, word for word, that his boss is unhappy with his work. Not just his boss, in fact — also the person at the top of the club.

Another scene shows Mourinho complaining again about Dele’s perceived laziness. One episode shows Dele being blamed for an opposition goal, walking away from the play when he should have been marking someone. It is a running theme, in between the happier bits about him cooking baked beans, nominating his favourite chocolate bars and explaining his teeth-brushing techniques. No other player gets so much negative focus. Nobody else suffers so much from the editing.

All of which might sting, you would assume. Then, the weekend after the final episodes were broadcast, Spurs went to Southampton and Dele was not even on the bench. Son Heung-min, playing in one of the positions Dele might covet, scored four goals. Kane set up all of them and got one himself. Dele, lest it be forgotten, has 37 caps for England and can remember being a mandatory pick for a Spurs team that had genuine aspirations to win the league. If he has been feeling a bit tender, if his confidence has been knocked and there has been the occasional moment of professional insecurity, can you blame him?

Not that this explains why Dele, twice the Professional Footballers’ Association’s young player of the year, has found himself in this position.

The sport is littered with stories about players who have had a dramatic rise, attracted a lot of favourable attention and made themselves very rich in the process, but are then guilty, perhaps, of slacking off. This might be another case.

Don’t forget that when Mauricio Pochettino published his 2017 book, Brave New World, the then-Spurs manager acclaimed Dele for signing from Milton Keynes Dons with “a burning need to prove his worth and showed that hunger in every training session, constantly putting his body on the line”.

The old Dele could never have been accused of coasting through training sessions. But Pochettino also made the point that there was a new Dele, too.

Dele, he explained, had signed three new contracts, each including a wage hike, and it was normal for the player to believe, and to be told by his entourage, that he had a new place in the hierarchy. That, in turn, meant handling him a different way. “A year ago, you could yell at Dele during a session, but now you necessarily have to strike a different tone,” Pochettino wrote. “It is a very delicate balance.” In other words, he had to treat Dele with more sensitivity and fluff up his ego more than before.

Unfortunately for Dele, Mourinho does not bend for anyone and there are not too many examples of players who have lost the trust of this manager and turned it around.

Dele needs a productive season to stand any chance of playing in next summer’s European Championship. His priority, however, ought to be reinventing himself at Spurs and, plainly, that isn’t going to get any easier when Bale is fit enough to be selected.

Should Dele, as Jenas says, think about moving on?

That won’t be straightforward, either. Dele’s contract runs until 2024 and that makes him very expensive for a potential buyer. A loan deal would be easier to arrange. Paris Saint-Germain have been mentioned as a possible option but, realistically, if Dele isn’t going to get into the Spurs team, is it going to be any easier for him at the Parc des Princes?

Far better, perhaps, if the player in question tries to understand that there is a reason why Mourinho, in his own words, is being a pain in the arse. And, at the heart of it, it is because Mourinho knows that was good advice from Sir Alex Ferguson back in his old job.
 

Colonel Dax

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Regarding Ben's info from the main thread... "thats why i can see dele them desperate to sell for 55-60 plus".

I really can't see anyone paying 60m for him. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

Vinny_Sammways_left_peg

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Regarding Ben's info from the main thread... "thats why i can see dele them desperate to sell for 55-60 plus".

I really can't see anyone paying 60m for him. 🤷🏻‍♂️
I think from Ben's info we can gleam shifting players we no longer seem to want is yet again rearing its ugly head, both in ability to move them on and to rake in the cash we want.
 

Univarn

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Regarding Ben's info from the main thread... "thats why i can see dele them desperate to sell for 55-60 plus".

I really can't see anyone paying 60m for him. 🤷🏻‍♂️
If we wanted 60m for him we should have put him to ManU before they bought VdB. In a normal market Dele is almost certainly worth 50m+ imo. Even last couple year with niggling hamstring injuries, largely playing a deeper role, and less minutes he's still managed 12 G+A which is not like this magical easy thing every attacking mid does. VdB only managed 12 G+A last year in the Eredivise and in my opinion Dele is worth way more than he is. Dele is also 24, you've still got 5-7 more years of him and most likely at least 1 more peak period so if you sell him now you ask for more for that opportunity loss.
 

sidford

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I am not a José fan but how many in media are putting this on him instead of looking at how Dele has been playing for last 18 months is incredible. No club bigger than us will take him on these days unless it's a bargain price so if he's not up for a fight to start then enjoy Everton or Hammers
 

spids

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Team is picked on merit and Son, Lamela, Bergwijn and Moura have all been better over the last 6-8 months.
 

Joely

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Hmmmm. Assuming not an injury. Just feels like a case where all parties look at it and maybe think a move may be best for all involved. Dele needs to be playing with the Euros next summer and Mourinho may have recognised for all the qualities Dele may have, he just isn't going to be able to mould him into a player that fits into the way he wants to set the team up.

Said a few weeks back, genuinely don't see where he fits into the setup Jose is using and suspected he'd be one of the fall guys. Although struggling to see anyone paying what we'd want for a perm transfer, if it were to happen, I do wonder if we'd make a move for Brooks at Bournemouth. Think he is someone that could play in midfield and also further up and would also be HG.
 

Spurs 1961

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We have an important game on Tuesday and Dele is not match fit. I expect him to play against Chelsea. Him and Ndombele can use playing against a top team to show what they have to offer. If not to JM to the world.
 

yankspurs

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Team is picked on merit and Son, Lamela, Bergwijn and Moura have all been better over the last 6-8 months.
Lucas? Nope. He’s only in the team because he’s a Jose favorite. If it were on merit, Lucas wouldnt be near the 18 as he offers absolutely nothing besides industry.
 
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