Date: 28th March 2018 at 3:41pm
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Part of me was glad that Dele wasn`t that involved in the England friendlies this week. After all, he should be fit and raring to go to face Chelsea this weekend.

However, when he did make an appearance against the Netherlands on Friday, he really didn`t look himself. Southgate had hinted that there have been some underlying fitness concerns with the midfielder, and it could have played a part in his less than stellar cameo appearance.

Our no.20 misplaced a number of passes after he came on for Jesse Lingard with 20 minutes to go, and looked generally off the pace. The fact that he didn`t get off the bench against Italy has led to many articles in the national newspapers this morning questioning whether he has a place in the national team`s starting eleven for the World Cup.

It isn`t uncommon for journalists to make snap judgements on a player`s form even when they don`t see them play every week. For that reason, I don`t tend to take much notice of it especially if they generally watch them more when they are playing for their national side, than for their club.

Still, the midfielder`s form has not been as consistently good this season compared to last. I don`t think many would doubt that. At 21 years of age, I believe any player will still have some inconsistent performances in him; not everyone is Lionel Messi after all.

In some senses, Dele is paying for what was an outstanding season last term. He barely put a foot wrong all campaign, and any drop off from that level will be noticed by both us fans, and the press in general. Yet, his 16 assists this year are the best figures of his career so far.

Numbers can lie sometimes of course, but I think the major difference was that his finishing last season took him to another level; a standard that we expected him to stay at. A creator became a great supplier of goals as well. He should still surpass his 15/16 total of ten goals in all competitions so perhaps he has just reverting to his mean average in front of goal. That argument doesn`t ring true for me though. My feeling his that he just isn’t 100% currently, and we will see the best of him again sooner rather than later.

Has Dele performed much worse than last season? Let me know in the poll.


20 Replies to “Is Criticism Of Tottenham Ace Unjustified?”

  • Some things can be very distracting. I blame his girlfriend. 🙂 But there’s nothing to worry about; he’ll be better than ever next season.

  • I wouldn’t say that he has been at all bad this season. Perhaps not as consistent as last season… But, if he is fit enough and gets to play on Sunday, I wouldn’t put him past it to have a big say in getting us the Spurs win.

  • At times, I have been frustrated with him particularly in games like Southampton when Eriksen was absent and Dele kept needlessly giving the ball away. He is going through a period in his career when he sometimes does the complicated when doing the simple thing is the right thing. There is nothing wrong with controlling the ball, shielding it and moving it on to the next player. What Dele tries too often is a flick or playing for the foul. Needless to say that his passing stats puts him only 65th for completed passes this season in the Prem. He’s only 7th in our own squad.

    No problem with his work-rate or the positions he’s taking up and it’s a no brainer that his assist rate is good. He just needs to find a balance between when to keep it simple and when to do something elaborate to break down defences, which is of course his role in the side. I’d also encourage him to take a leaf out of Kane’s book and get the running spikes on. Would be amazing if he could find that extra sprinting pace as at times he doesn’t look the quickest.

    Hard to imagine he’s still classed as an U21 free pick in the squad. He’s not even a senior player until next season 🙂

  • Mutttley I agree with what you say. Now we know Dele has a groin strain or similar explains his good / not so good form. I would also say the vile slagging off by the Liverpool ” plastic fans” and media effected him. In his defense he goes down in the box as he tries to get back at opposition MF / defenders whose consistant fouling / kicking / verbal comments have made him react this way. As Dele said recently……”I get fouled and kicked a lot”

  • muttley … I agree too. Being just a ‘junior’, imagine how good he’ll be when he grows up!

  • It was interesting to read Southgate’s comment that Ali seemed to struggle to follow instructions, something that is bad news for any manager. Unlike other fans I’m not going to pretend that diving is OK if its one of our players doing it. To me its all about attitude not talent. Kane, Son, Eriksen all seem to be trying to be the best they can possibly be. With Ali I just don’t know whether he will make the most of his talent.

  • Jod, I’ve not seen or heard Southgate criticise Dele for not following instructions or for anything else. Maybe I just missed that…

    I don’t think any Spurs fans have shown approval for diving from any player. I remember quite clearly on here that Bale was criticised for it as much as Dele has been… My only thing against the controversy in the media and also the stick from supporters of other clubs with regard to Dele and diving is that I think it is unfair to lay in to him, whilst ignoring the blatant diving of many others. I see it every week, all over football and I don’t think he should be singled out so much. … I have seen Harry and Son look like they have dived too. (But I can’t recall Christian doing it). Harry and Son are not holier than though, I’m sure. I just think they are better at disguising it, than Alli is. I don’t want to see it at all but it happens and it happens everywhere, all the time. Not that it’s acceptable at Spurs but that it is not exclusive to us, obviously.

    Anyway, Son, Eriksen and Kane have all, also been criticised for various attitude problems in the past. It’s what us supporters like to do.

  • Hot Tottingham – No you’re not approving diving you’re excusing it. If you seriously think other Spurs players do what Ali does I wonder in what parallel universe are you watching football. As for attitude problems, when have Son, Eriksen and especially Kane ever had one ? Trying to talk them down to Dele’s level just sounds stupid. I’ve seen plenty of players over the years who haven’t made the most of their talent. It remains to be seen whether Ali ends up being another.

  • Okay…. Not so but, okay… If you say so then I am being stupid. I thought I was just being fair, realistic and reasonable.

  • I didn’t actually say or have ever said that any of them have had an attitude problem… Unless of course it was in that parallel universe you speak of… Beam me up, Scotty.

  • Star already made – must be surrounded by quality players and is – has to stay that way. Very young, keep on improving and cement his place amongst the Spurs great’s. Could do with more goals given his talent and position but turned more of a provider this season – should be back to his best for next season hopefully although there is still plenty of games and rewards to fight for until the end of this one.

  • I think Dele isn’t getting so many goals because he isn’t getting into the box as much and I also think he could move more and wonder if he is stifled in the offensive role and would prefer to play deeper so he can run at defenders and run into the box from deep. The problem is we have strong midfielders and he loses ball too much which would create problems if he played deeper. Personality wise I don’t like the girlfriend scenario, I prefer relationships that are more ordinary, family orientated, no in the lime light, certainly not into models and all that usually comes with high profile glittering media attention type of relationships, usually models draw so much attention and athletes imo need less attention of such a kind, early nights, complete focus on trying not just on the pitch but of it, commitment to early nights, and mental focus, is Dele being distracted with is model? I think is diving has brought him a bad reputation. Personally I would just not do it, if I’m kicked and fouled just get up and get on with it and let the ref deal with it, stop going down with every touch. Will Dele realise his potential, may be but he is going to have to work hard and stay focused. The England thing blown out of proportion, Dele isn’t fully fit, he wasn’t risked, if he had been fit he would have been played imo. The fact he got 20mins shows me Southgate wanted to reward him even though not fit, there is no problem with Southgate or his England place and I expect him to start. England were average in those two games, they are nowhere near as good as pundits are saying, they are getting organised, working hard but the talent is missing compared to other countries. We have decent UK emerging, defence is inexperienced and I don’t see any of them as being great. Dier is good as a DM but lacks a creative midfieldrr partner to compliment him. Up rront Kane is by dar the best talent but tbh he struggles because of lack of service. Offensive players average. Sterling improve this season, but isn’t looking like scoring at international level, Rashford decent but young, Dele is talent but still young and raw but he gives us something no other player has, but needs to improve his control of the ball. Walker in a back 3 madness, when we play competitive he will struggle. Trippier ok but nothing special same with Rose. England will need a bit in form Dele, Dier and Kane imo so Dele place imo us not under threat unless he is unfit. Lingard comparison, no way has he got what Dele has, he will be found out in competitive matches.

  • Good players get hacked a lot especially in the premier league. The diving thing is mostly a lot of bollacks. Maybe he looks for a penalty sometimes, maybe he is looking at the ?best? players in the world and trying to become one of them. They all dive sometimes. Singling our Dele is just unfair

  • Dele to some extent has been believing his own press. He was on a League of Your own recently and he was lapping up the adulation! When I saw him play last season he was making runs in the box making room for Kane and ghosting into positions like he did against the Chavs at WHL last season! He doesn’t seem to be showing that footballing 6th sense at the moment, at least, not as much this season. When he does show a flash of genius its great but they too few and far between. His speciality this season is losing the ball if he does that on Sunday it will be a big no no. We cant afford to let the Chavs latch on to the break down ball on Sunday. I think Dele has lost not just a yard in pace but a yard in thinking. If Kane doesn’t play I would rather he wasn’t first pick he plays better when Kane is on the pitch than when Kane is off it. Kane does the thinking for Dele he makes the moves that makes Dele know where to put the ball. if he is carrying a pull then he defo shouldn’t make a start. I would rather we played 5 at the back and clogg the midfield up with Dembele Dier and Wanyama against the Chavs leave it to Moura Eriksen and Son to carve out the chances. Dele is beginning to play like a show pony and we’ve had enough David Bentley’s in the past thank you very much!

  • OyVeh – lol, if we revert to 5 at the back with the 3 in midfield and 3 up top you mention then I expect us to win. Of course, that would mean fielding 12 players 🙂

    As for Wanyama, he played the first of Kenya’s 2 games and was then sent home with the left knee issue he’s had since July. I have a feeling he will only make the bench at best. Also hearing that Winks now needs to go for further tests on his ankle after being sent back from the U21’s. With Rose lack of fitness and appearing to losing a yard of pace, it appears he’s still not right either. Let’s hope Toby fully recovers for the run in.

    Starting to get a little concerned about these fitness issues we’re having in the squad.

  • Just seen Poch’s interview on SSN. He said that Dele looks fresh and fit in training this week. He seems to be disregarding the groin injury stories coming from the England camp.

  • Here is the words of a sensible and intelligent man who obviously knows his subject matter far better than any of us do… And not the words of an idiot from another dimension, such as myself:

    Pohettino said: ?I have full confidence in him and his talent and because I know him ? he is a great kid and a very good person.”

    ?But he is young. He is 21. If you compare with normal people on the street who are 21, they are still living at home with their parents, they are still at university doing stupid things.”

    ?Sometimes we expect too much and we put too much pressure on 21-year-old players. Sometimes we forget and treat them like 40-year-old men.”

    ?It?s not like this. We need to be focused on him being still a kid. It?s a lot of pressure on his shoulders and not always can he act how the people and the society expect. That is so important to understand.”

    ?We are going to help him because he is a talented player and a great kid.”

    ?And he has done a lot for us and the club.”

    ?The problem is that in the last two seasons, he was unbelievable, amazing.”

    ?Younger players always have ups and downs. Expectation was massive because he was always increasing his level and improving and improving.”

    ?This season the expectation was massive, maybe too high.”

    ?For me he is one of the most talented players in Europe.?

    Thank goodness and Poch for some common sense.

  • Muttley, I read that that we had an agreement with Kenya that Wanyama would only play the first game and then return home immediately afterwards. It was precautionary rather than a reoccurrence of the injury. And apparently a Spurs physio travelled with Wanyama to Kenya.

  • Hands up those of you who think Dele should play on Sunday. Or, should he be dropped? Have a rest? Perhaps he could spend a quiet Sunday afternoon with his girlfriend, sharing happy times and looking dewy-eyed and all sentimental at some photos from old, family picture-albums. Maybe drink some camomile tea whilst watching Songs of Praise on the TV and later, crying over the odd Rom-Com based on a novel, written by a Gooner… Nice!

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