Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli is entering his fifth year at White Hart Lane and despite coming in for some criticism last season, and during our pre-season campaign from some quarters, his overall goalscoring and assist record at the club can hardly be sniffed at.
Whilst the 2018/19 campaign was hardly his best, he continued to prove he was a key player for manager Mauricio Pochettino’s side given his contribution and in a recent interview with the Official Site, the 23-year-old England international spoke about how his game had been rounded over the last few years and in some ways now, he felt that judging him on his goal and assist contribution only was slightly unfair.
“I’m as hungry as I always was when I first came here. I still want to achieve a lot more and that won’t stop. Every year I’ve learned so much with the players I’m playing with and the coaching staff. I feel like I’m in a great place to continue learning. I’m still young and excited to keep learning and improving as a player. It would be nice to get a few more goals and assists this season but that’s not what my whole game is based on. Yes, obviously because of my first two seasons and the amount of goals and assists I managed to get (32 goals in 96 games), people expect that to be my game but as a midfielder, I don’t think that’s just what it’s all about. We have defensive work as well, making space for other players and getting goals and assists as well. That’s what I judge my game on. To get some goals and assists would be nice but the main thing is to win things as a team. That’s all that matters.”
It is ultimately what fans will continue to judge him though because it’s what we’ve come to expect from him on an attacking front, and even if he is naturally taking on more defensive work, it shouldn’t stifle his attacking instincts.
With it seeming like he’s trying to take the goals and assists pressure off himself in light of the criticism that went his way in terms of an apparent underperformance, it’ll be interesting to see how he goes in 2019/20.