DELE ALLI has received plenty of plaudits over the last two years — and rightly so. He was particularly good last season as Mauricio Pochettino’s exciting young side finishing runners- up to champions Chelsea.
On the back of that, I started to see Dele splashed across magazines and on the small screen promoting a TV company.
Reuters Dele Alli has endured a slow start to the season
He was the face of a new breed of young England players that were threatening to stand alongside their foreign counterparts in the Premier League. Dele was proving good young English talent can make its way to the top.
Unfortunately, the player seems to be now resting on the laurels of that praise and the exposure that came with his good form. It is very easy when you are a young player to get carried away with all the adulation.
You then forget what it was that earned you that in the first place — hard work and focus. Now I do not purport to know Dele well and, yes, he is only 21 years old.
But what I see is another young English player falling short of the hype. On Saturday at the Etihad, when he really needed to step up, he let his team down and should have been sent off.
BT Sport Kevin De Bruyne was the victim of a bad Dele Alli tackle Reuters It looked like kevin De Bruyne could have been seriously hurt by Dele Alli Reuters Dele Alli was lucky to escape with only a yellow for the foul
Playing at the top of a diamond, in behind Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son he had a crucial role. But he completely lost his head and his already suspect temperament came to the fore again.
The spite with which he crunched his studs into Kevin De Bruyne’s ankle in a reckless and dangerous challenge deserved a dismissal.
‘ALL ABOUT MONEY’ Tottenham supporters not happy with ‘pretentious’ premium corporate area in new stadium
Because he got a yellow card from referee Craig Pawson rather than the straight red it deserved, no further action will be taken.
Thankfully, De Bruyne was quickly able to get up from that challenge and deliver vengeance in the best way possible with a searing run and thumping finish.
That moment typified a superb City on the day — in the same way Dele’s rag-tag display typified Spurs. He could take a leaf out of Raheem Sterling’s book.
Offered a swap, you would have taken Dele over Sterling this time last year. Sterling was getting headlines for things off the pitch and, on it, things were not happening for him.
Dele Alli only gets a yellow card for a nasty late challenge on Kevin De Bruyne
He has responded by knuckling down, listening to one of the best coaches in the game and the results have been fantastic for him and City.
Kane, for me, is the only player at Spurs maintaining the very high standards he set himself last season. Yet he, too, could have got his marching orders on Saturday.
Much has been said about Manchester United’s negative approach against City the previous weekend. They very nearly nicked a point, however.
If anything they were sensible in their approach against a superior side. As were Huddersfield and Southampton,who both also nearly got a point.
PA:Press Association Dele Alli also got a red card in Europe for a dangerous challenge
Spurs tried to take City on, tried to press them high up the pitch and constantly got picked off and just lost their heads.
The game was stark evidence of how far in different directions these two teams have gone in such a short space of time.
Spurs finished eight points ahead of City last season, they are now 21 behind them.
For all the praise Pochettino has had, he has won only one of 18 away games against the teams that finished in last season’s top six.
Evidence enough his side are just not good enough to win the title.
Reuters Spurs needed a big Dele Ally performance against Man Citybut it never came