Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dele's Rapid Rise Means PS5m Man Is Now Worth Six Times That; Tom Collomosse Examines Every Aspect of the Spurs Star's Game and Finds No Weakness

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dele's Rapid Rise Means PS5m Man Is Now Worth Six Times That; Tom Collomosse Examines Every Aspect of the Spurs Star's Game and Finds No Weakness

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse

JAN VERTONGHEN had never heard of Dele Alli before the teenager joined Tottenham but it has taken English football's new star just five months to become the first name on the team sheet.

Rarely in the game has PS5million been spent so wisely. Tottenham have been criticised in the past for their poor use of the transfer market but they deserve plenty of praise for showing faith in a player from League One when their rivals would not.

After Alli was man of the match in Spurs's 3-1 win over Aston Villa in November, team-mate Vertonghen admitted: "Before he came here, I didn't really know him. I don't know anything about the lower leagues but this guy has impressed everyone since the first day we met."

It is not easy for a 19-year-old to win the immediate respect of experienced international players. Standard Sport examines how Alli has achieved it.

PERSONALITY Making a jump from League One to the Premier League would intimidate many players. Not Alli, who has made it clear he feels he belongs at this level. In his first top-flight start a 1-0 win at Sunderland in September Alli produced a display brimming with confidence. "He has a very poorly developed sense of fear," his former manager at Milton Keynes Dons, Karl Robinson, told Standard Sport. Tottenham are trying to protect Alli from excessive media exposure but when he does speak, he is unruffled and thoughtful. He has integrated well in the dressing room, where he is particularly close to Eric Dier, Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane. 4/5 TECHNIQUE It is hard to see a weakness in Alli's game here. He is naturally right-footed but his left side is strong, too. His vision is excellent, his control superb. It is usually rare for a player to score one goal per season of the quality of Alli's against Everton when he controlled Toby Alderweireld's long pass to volley past keeper Tim Howard. Alli has two in four weeks, after claiming one that was almost identical in the 1-1 draw with West Brom. One note of caution: Alli can sometimes try one trick too many in his own half, which is perhaps why he is used more regularly in the No10 position at the moment. …

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