Dele Alli instantly won new Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho’s heart in Saturday’s 3-2 win over West Ham – he’s now setting his sights on re-seducing England manager Gareth Southgate.
The attacking midfielder has faced criticism from various quarters over the previous 12 months but Mourinho, in his first press conference since being appointed as Mauricio Pochettino’s successor, challenged Alli to reproduce the sort of form that made him one of the most highly coveted players in Europe.
Despite the criticism, he insists he has been satisfied with his form so far this season.
Yet, the fact Southgate has not included a player who emerged as one of England’s heroes during their euphoric run to the World Cup semi-final in his previous two squads suggests the 23-year-old’s performances have not matched his own lofty standards.
‘’I want to be in the England squad. Every player who gets picked to play it is a huge honour and I have to do everything I can,’ said Alli.
‘’I can’t blame Gareth or the coaches. You have to keep working hard to make sure they don’t have an option to leave me out.
‘’I started the season slowly, I had an injury, in pre-season, but I’ve been working hard. When I came back I felt strong, obviously apart from the Liverpool game because it was a bad game for me.
‘’I performed very well in the others. I am trying to get back to, not where I was two years ago, but better than that.
‘’I’ve had a lot of criticism but it didn’t shock me. Playing in the Premier League you expect, when you are not performing, to be criticised. Some people will always have an opinion.
‘’It is great for social media but you cannot get too caught up in those opinions, you would only go down. I am my own biggest critic.
‘’Some peoples’ opinions are for the right reasons and some are just to jump on the bandwagon.’ ‘