Dele Alli has been one of the incredible stories in the Premier League over the last five years. His transition from a player for MK Dons in the League One into an England international has been quite remarkable. With such an incredible progress does come a lot of pressure in the form of criticism, and Alli has not been exempt from it. The 20-year-old midfielder has suddenly found himself in a number of controversial aspects thanks to his poor decision-making. He has been accused of going down in the box rather too easily and even simulating on certain occasions.
Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy or any other critic, though, is unlikely to find any fault in his goal scoring abilities. He may have scored only five goals in 22 appearances this season, but Murphy believes that Alli has shown Lampard-like qualities when it comes to scoring goals.
Regarded as one of the greatest goal scoring midfielders the league has ever seen, Frank Lampard became Chelsea’s all-time top scorer with 211 goals in 13 years at the club. Even though he was not one of the quickest players around nor the technically gifted, the 37-year-old was able to achieve this incredible statistic largely as a result of timing his runs to perfection. Lampard would invariably be the man at the end of the box striking an effort to perfection into the back of the net. He would also get several tap-ins similar to a centre-forward.
Murphy says that Alli has been demonstrating the same qualities even at this early age. He was quoted by the Evening Standard as saying;
“He is similar to Frank Lampard in the way he appreciates space and times his runs to ensure he finds great goalscoring positions. He is hard for midfielders to track, or for defenders to pick up when he is running towards them.
“The only thing that he has lacked compared to last year is accurate finishing but I have not seen him hide once. Even if he misses a couple of chances, he will continue to make the same runs until he takes one of them.”
Last season, the midfielder finished with 10 goals in 33 league appearances. He averaged 2.2 shots per game. This season, though, there has been in a tremendous increment in the number of shots, which is now up to 2.6 per game, and this has resulted in the midfielder scoring four goals in 16 appearances. His contribution through assists may have gone down dramatically, but Murphy says that a player like Alli should be used to score more goals.
Alli scored the equaliser against Burnley in the last league match. This was also his first league goal since October 15 when he scored in the 1-1 draw against West Brom. It is about time the 20-year-old goes on a run of games when he scores consistently in order to alleviate any negative criticism about his game. As Alli becomes more and more part of the elite in the Premier League, there will be more critics scrutinising every element of his game. It is up to the 20-year-old to focus on aspects like scoring goals and winning games in order to make those critics look at his positive attributes.