Dele Alli has commanded his fair share of critics in recent seasons but a quick glance at his goal scoring record is enough to prove that he is the real deal.
The British media are all too regularly guilty of over-hyping the next generation of English talent, but Alli has not received the level of esteemed praise you would expect of a player his age since the excitement over his initial breakthrough subsided.
Regularly accused of being a luxury player and a tap-in merchant, Alli has been forced to answer plenty of questions regarding the full extent of his potential in the past eighteen months.
A relatively ineffective World Cup campaign further exacerbated the opinions of his most avid sceptics, but a standout individual display against Chelsea and a goal against Leicester City on Saturday evening will silence his doubters for now.
But Alli remains one of the most highly respected young players in European football in the eyes of many fans and pundits, including Sky Sports regular Jamie Redknapp.
Indeed, Redknapp was full of gushing praise for the 22-year-old after his latest display at the King Power Stadium in his team of the week column, as published by the Daily Mail.
‘I was delighted to see Dele Alli score his 50th goal for Tottenham. I cannot think of another 22-year-old in the Premier League with better football intelligence.
‘He defends from the front with his pressing, his movement is exceptional and he scores and creates goals.
‘The fact that he has taken fewer games to reach the milestone than the likes of Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard only underlines his brilliance.’
That Alli has beaten Scholes, Gerrard and Lampard to 50 goals is a statistic which serves to illuminate quite how exceptional he is.
Sure, he may not always be the most effective player over the course of 90 minutes and he operates in a slightly more advanced role to that of the aforementioned trio, but that should take nothing away from his remarkable achievement.
Mauricio Pochettino deserves huge credit for catalysing Alli’s development and standing by him through unconvincing dry spells. Without the Argentine’s influence Alli would be a shadow of the player he is today, and under his tutelage he’s bound to blossom into one of Europe’s most relentless goal scoring midfielders.
With a season-defining trip to the Nou Camp lying ahead it was a great time for Alli to score against Leicester, and his poachers instinct may well prove to be the difference between success and failure against Barcelona tomorrow evening.
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