Tottenham Hotspur’s highly-rated attacking midfielder Dele Alli has endured a difficult year so far.
The 23-year-old has been struggling to recapture his best form since the start of last season. And this season, he has only managed one substitute appearance in the Premier League, although he was injured at the start of the season.
Former England defender turned football pundit Micah Richards has suggested that Alli is not fully fit, and that he is trying to protect himself.
He adds that he is not running freely and he is becoming a scapegoat at Spurs.
“I just think that he’s obviously had his injuries, he’s similar to Daniel Sturridge when he had his hip injury,” said Richards to BBC Radio Five Live. “He seemed as though he wasn’t really sprinting, just in case something went. Just because you’re back training, doesn’t mean you’re back fit – you have to get match fit. At times, they’ve thrown him in a little bit too soon. He’s not played well, he’s almost like the scapegoat at times.”
“I would sympathise with him, only because he’s still carrying knocks. For me, he’s not fully fit yet. It just feels like with Dele at the moment, he’s got a lot of stress in his body, he’s trying to protect himself, he’s not running free-flowing, he’s not the Dele Alli that we’ve all seen, he’s not the third man running and arriving into the box,”
Alli made a great start to his Spurs career since joining from MK Dons in 2015. He was one of the top performers at the club, along with Harry Kane and others, for the first three seasons.
The exciting forward, who is on £100,000-a-week wages at Spurs, has scored 46 goals and provided 41 assists so far for the north London club. He was also a regular starter for England at Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.
However, Alli struggled to recapture that form last season, managing seven goals and eight assists in 38 games in all competitions.
Alli has now been dropped by England for their games against Czech Republic and Bulgaria, and the young attacker is now searching for his form at Spurs.