Forget the controversies – Why Tottenham’s 21-year-old superstar will overcome the issues and shine

“It’s not really something I am thinking about too much. I think people get too worried about where they are going to end up and lose focus on the journey and not enjoying it. So, for me, as a player, I’m signed at Tottenham and I am enjoying it. Who knows where I am going to end up but I am enjoying the journey.”

The aforementioned statement was from Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli back in June last year after the season, which saw Spurs finish second and London rivals Chelsea get crowned as Premier League champions.

Alli was one of the shining stars for Spurs last season, dishing out impressive performances week in week out. There was no doubt his incredible rise, as a matter of a couple of seasons have brought admiration from some of the top clubs. But he’s quashed them all by opting to stay with Spurs.

The midfielder joined Spurs from MK Dons in 2015 and has since been on the rise and how! Indeed, he finished with 22 goals and 13 assists across all competitions last season as well as winning the PFA Young Player of the Year award, leaving the Spurs faithful assured of a better campaign to follow.

Analysing this season, Alli has failed to live up to the lofty standards he had set last season with all the flicks, tricks and goals. He was considered as the next big thing in England but that has not done any favour to him as he has largely struggled this campaign.

In the Premier League, Alli has contributed 5 goals and 7 assists this season – an underwhelming return compared to his showing for Spurs last campaign.

Also, there have been instances of his notorious acts which were exempted earlier but not now. At 21, he has matured enough and has spent sufficient time in England’s top-tier.

Since making his debut in 2015, Alli has been booked 3 times for diving – the most by any Premier League player in that period. The most recent one came in the 2-2 draw against Liverpool at Anfield and going by that, the midfielder is neither learning nor changing.

Diving is a crime and Alli is a persistent offender. What he did at Anfield was worthy of a three-match ban. West Ham’s Manuel Lanizini and Everton’s Oumar Niasse were banned for diving but luckily for Alli, there has been no retrospective action taken so far.

While diving has been one of Alli’s problems, the Spurs man has also mastered the act of fouling players and escaping without being sent off.

Prior to the Liverpool game, Spurs faced Manchester United and won 2-0 at Wembley. Alli was at the centre of everything; first for an assist to Christian Eriksen to open the scoring inside 11 seconds and then for kicking Alexis Sanchez – a sign of irregular sulkiness.

The midfielder received a yellow card but it could have been a straight red for Alli, for his tackle on the Chilean’s ankles. If the kick to Sanchez was everything against United, then it wasn’t, as Alli displayed one of his better performances this season.

The England international’s best performance this term came in the Champions League when he oozed class to dismantle Real Madrid 3-1 at Wembley. It was a performance which had everything – Class, panache, technique, agility, craftiness and above all, goals. Against Real, Alli gave a glimpse of what he is actually capable of and why he’s so highly-rated across Europe.

At 21 years of age, a dip in form is understandable. The same thing has somewhat happened to Alli this season. Yet, he has had his moments.

Alli has to start showing why he too is vital for Spurs, just like Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen. Consistency is the key which the midfielder needs to develop if he is to take his game to next level and win things with Spurs and England.

Despite his playful antics and the very recent reports of sex tape leak, the fans are sure to back Alli in every way and expect the player to be back to his best sooner rather than later.