Dele Alli not paying attention to critics

30Dec 2017
The Guardian
Dele Alli not paying attention to critics

TOTTENHAM Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli has said he has fallen short of his own standards this season but is paying no attention to the critics.

Alli has rediscovered his form in recent games, with two assists against both Burnley and Southampton and a first goal since Nov. 1 against the Saints.

The two-time PFA Young Player of the Year said he had not always been able to match the consistency of his last two seasons but added: "The manager [Mauricio Pochettino] and I speak a lot and my form is not really something I think about too much.

"At 21, when you set your standards as high as I did the last two years it's not always the case that you're going to be able to reach them all the time. Some people think if you're not scoring or assisting you're playing badly.

"I criticise myself all the time. I think I can do better, I can do more for the team, so I think it's just working on myself and my own game."

Speaking about criticism he has received, he said: "I think it's important you don't look too much into that.

"People's opinions are changing all the time and I think you'd be more worried if the other fans like you as a player. When your own fans start disliking you, then it changes and you think about it a bit more.

"As players we're not too worried about what people are saying, as long as the people close to you, around you and your teammates are speaking highly and you're doing what the team wants."

Alli's discipline was again called into question when he was booked for a late challenge on Burnley's Charlie Taylor, but he said: "People can say what they want.

"I think the tackle at Burnley ... we both went into it the same, the ref made a decision and that's the way it is.

"I think you've just got to focus on yourself every game and look at what you can improve every game and training session.

"Of course it's always nice to prove people wrong. I think you can see I'm still as hungry as I have been I think I don't want to change my game, change anything that's got me to where I am -- I just want to improve."

Alli praised teammate Harry Kane, who scored back-to-back hat tricks over the Christmas period to surpass Lionel Messi as the highest scorer in elite European football in 2017.

Kane's 39 league goals also saw him break Alan Shearer's record for Premier League goals in a calendar year.

"He wants to be one of the best in the world and to do that you have to be up there statistically as well, getting the goals, and that's what he's doing as a striker," Alli said.

"He's a fantastic player and he always seems to set himself targets and smash through them, so it was no surprise that he done it again.

"He definitely deserves it. He's an unbelievable athlete, he works hard every day on and off the field, so he deserves everything he's getting.

"There's always room for improvement, though. Harry is one of those players who's not going to stop now because he's broken one record -- he's going to keep going and working hard."

Asked whether the rest of the world should start fearing England with Kane in the team, Alli said: "I don't think we need to put too much pressure on him -- it's about the team as well.

"For me as a player, it is a delight to be able to play with a striker like that."