Alli re­minds me of Gazza!

MATT BELL on the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween one cur­rent Tot­ten­ham star and an­other from yes­ter­year…

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - TOTTENHAM -

AS TOT­TEN­HAM have be­come gen­uine ti­tle con­tenders in the last cou­ple of years, young mid­fielder Dele Alli has caught the eye.

It was back in Fe­bru­ary 2015 that Spurs splashed out £5m to sign Alli from League One side MK Dons.

They im­me­di­ately loaned him back to the Dons – who went on to win pro­mo­tion - for the rest of the sea­son.

He then linked up with Tot­ten­ham, and no one could have imag­ined the im­pact he would have in the two years that have fol­lowed.

With 28 goals and 16 as­sists in 70 Premier League games, ev­ery­one knows all about his qual­ity, skill, strength and eye for goal now.

Tot­ten­ham have had some top-class mid­field­ers over the years – Glenn Hod­dle and Ossie Ardiles read­ily spring to mind – but there is one in par­tic­u­lar who ap­pears to share some of the same traits as Alli: Paul Gas­coigne.

Gazza was one of English foot­ball’s bright­est lights in the late 80s and early 90s. He played a mas­sive part in Eng­land go­ing all the way to the semi-fi­nals of Italia ’90 with his bright, vi­brant play.

Do­mes­ti­cally, New­cas­tle and Tot­ten­ham fans al­ready knew how promis­ing this Ge­ordie tal­ent was. Granted, in­juries, per­sonal demons and ad­dic­tion hin­dered his ca­reer from reach­ing its full po­ten­tial, both for club and coun­try.

But when he was at his best, Gas­coigne, like Alli, took fans’ breath away: for coun­try, his goal against Scot­land in Euro ’96 still puts the hairs on my arms on end, and his in­cred­i­ble free-kick in Tot­ten­ham’s FA Cup semi­fi­nal win against Arse­nal in 1991 prob­a­bly still keeps Gun­ners goal­keeper David Sea­man awake at night.

Like Alli, Gazza had goalscor­ing at­tributes, net­ting 19 goals in his 92 league ap­pear­ances for the White Hart Lane out­fit. He in­spired Tot­ten­ham to reach the FA Cup fi­nal in ’91 and it high­lighted why Spurs broke the Bri­tish trans­fer record to sign him for £2.2m. Like Gas­coigne showed on many oc­ca­sions, Alli too has a tem­per about him – in two years in the Premier League, he has al­ready picked up 11 yel­low cards, while he was sent off against Gent in the Europa League at Wem­b­ley for a dan­ger­ous high tackle as Spurs crashed out. The 21-year-old Mil­ton Keynes-born at­tack­ing mid­fielder has walked the tightrope at times and his spiky tem­per­a­ment re­minds me of Gazza. As he ma­tures, you would hope that these yel­low cards would be­come fewer, but then that ag­gres­sion is what helps make him the spe­cial tal­ent he is, and fans love it when their play­ers show pas­sion. Both Tot­ten­ham and Eng­land fans can only hope that Alli con­tin­ues to pro­vide the spark that can win matches. Eng­land are in des­per­ate need for an in-form player to lead them far in a tour­na­ment, like Gas­coigne did in both ’90 and ’96, and will be hop­ing that Alli is in good shape when they land in Rus­sia next year. If he is, he could be the dif­fer­ence be­tween the Three Lions mak­ing an early exit or go­ing deep into the tour­na­ment. One thing’s for cer­tain – if he can even show some of the qual­ity that Gazza did more than two decades ago, then Eng­land will be on to a good thing.

Pass-mas­ter: Paul Gas­coigne Catch­ing the eye: Spurs’ Dele Alli

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