I cana��t believe Dele Alli is just 21

I cana��t believe Dele Alli is just 21

Tottenham and England international attacking midfielder Dele Alli seems to be an easy target for criticism at times. The 21-year-old has won the PFA Young Player of the Year award in the last two seasons. However, the former MK Dona��s player has seen his form dip slightly from last season, something that was bound to happen at some point to the youngster.

Numb to criticism

The criticism of Alli from fans and media alike has been rather harsh considering he is such a young player. However, Alli has revealed in an interview he is now numb to criticism, tellingA�Sky Sports:

a�?There are a lot of opinions, people say a lot in the media and online, but Ia��m numb to it now. Growing up, you have to fight every day, coming into the Premier League you have to fight for your place in the team, and same as an international.

a�?Every player is different [in dealing with criticism], I think ita��s all about your focus, what your focus is. Some people might focus a lot on what people are saying about them, which can take the focus away from the football. It can impact you.

a�?But for me, Ia��ve never worried too much about what people think. If you have confidence in yourself, you know yourself, better than anyone, when you have that, what other people say, automatically you are numb to it.a�?

A young player with bags of potential

It is difficult to remember sometimes that Alli is still only 21 years of age. If he plays against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the midfielder will have clocked up a century of top-flight appearances, not bad for such a player of his age.

Alli has enjoyed a very creditable Premier League career so far with Tottenham. His stats for Tottenham tell their own story, as he has scored 42 goals and produced 40 assists in 138 appearances for the north London side.

Boss Mauricio Pochettino recently claimed Alli was the best player in the world of his age. People laughed, but when you look at those statistics, they are pretty impressive and it would be hard to argue with the Argentinian bossa�� opinion of Alli.

Alli has not endeared himself to rival fans with slightly petulant behaviour and a perception that he likes to throw himself on the floor far too easily. Those are the flaws in his game that with experience may disappear.

However, the edge that Alli plays the game with can also work to his advantage. Many of the worlda��s best footballers have had an edge to their game, something in their personality that makes them more eager to succeed.

While rival fans criticise the England international, I would hazard a guess that most would have Alli in their team in a heartbeat.

I would say he is one of Englanda��s brightest young talents, even if he has not enjoyed his best campaign in a white shirt for Tottenham. As the player has admitted himself, opposition players now pay more attention to him and know he is a bigger danger. This obviously makes it harder to score goals and create for his teammates.

Alli a vital figure for Tottenham

England boss Gareth Southgate recently revealed that Alli is not a shoo-in to start for the Three Lions at this summera��s World Cup. However, the midfielder who turns 22 in a few weeksa�� time is still a vital figure in the Tottenham team.

For all the criticism, Alli has a crucial part to play in Spurs top-four challenge.A�Mauricio Pochettinoa��s side are currently odds of 1/7 to finish in the Champions League spotsA�this season.

It must be difficult for any footballer to cope with criticism, especially one who is just really starting out. However, it seems that Dele Alli is mentally strong, which should hold him in good stead for what promises to be a stellar career.

Does Dele Alli deserve the criticism he has received of late?

I cana��t believe Dele Alli is just 21

Arnold Njoku

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