The 11th April marks Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli’s birthday.
It also presents an ideal opportunity to look back at the now 22-year-old midfielder’s exceptional time at the club to date.
Since signing for Tottenham in February 2015, joining from League One side Milton Keynes Dons, he has made 101 English top-flight appearances, scoring 36 goals and providing 26 assists.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 11, 2018
Earning an England National Team call-up in his debut season, after just seven Premier League appearances, he has gone on to become a key player for Mauricio Pochettino’s side and a regular at international level for the Three Lions.
Remarkably, among the all-time Premier League goal contributors under the age of 22, Dele Alli ranks sixth.
But how did Tottenham fans initially react to news that the highly promising midfielder would be joining their ranks? The following posts were left by members of The Fighting Cock Forum over three years ago…
Comparisons could be made between Alli and Josh Onomah’s playing styles, but their individual career trajectories since the 2nd February 2015 couldn’t have been any more different.
In the three years since joining Spurs, the former has earned 23 England caps and established himself as a key player for the Lilywhites.
Meanwhile, the latter has been shipped out on loan to Aston Villa, playing first-team football in the Sky Bet Championship.
‘Top class’, Alli has turned out to be, and Tottenham’s policy of buying young talent exists to this day.
Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth, both under the age of 22, arrived at the club in the previous summer window, accompanied by the relatively shrewd signings of Fernando Llorente and Serge Aurier, with Lucas Moura following in January.
Incorrect, but the 22-year-old quickly fought his way into the Spurs first team fold. Mousa Dembele retains his ‘spot’ even to this day, while Alli has assumed a more attacking role combining with the prolific Harry Kane.
Comparisons were likely to be made between Alli and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain given the duo’s shared-nationality and huge potential.
Like the former Arsenal midfielder, who completed a £35 million move to Liverpool at the beginning of the season, Alli made his debut within a year of signing for Tottenham – in a 2-0 victory over Lithuania.
Alli, however, has since surpassed his international teammate’s achievements, despite being two years his junior.
Alli has brought exactly what Pochettino would have been looking for, and more!
It is fair to say Spurs boss Pochettino has done a fine job of nurturing British talent at club level and this has paid its dividends for Gareth Southgate as manager of England, with Alli being a prime example.
Ryan Mason may no longer be a Spurs player, but the Argentine head coach has since overseen the progression of Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose and Harry Winks from club to international recognition.