Eric Dier expressed real excitement for Tottenham teammate Dele Alli during pre-season, but his faith has been misplaced so far.
Alli, 24, has been unable to cement his position as a regular starter for Spurs during the campaign so far and has slipped right down the pecking order under manager Jose Mourinho.
The attacking midfielder has lost his spot in the England national squad as well and looks a long way off the player that once burst onto the top-flight scene after joining Spurs from MK Dons.
Spurs defender Dier was left raving about Alli after his performance back in August in a 4-1 pre-season win over Reading, as he scored an excellent lofted goal and he was excited by his prospects going into the new campaign.
But the creative playmaker has been unable to kick on since the season started.
“He’s got me excited with the way he played today. I really enjoyed seeing the way he played, his energy, his work-rate in and out of possession was fantastic, great goal as well,” Dier said, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account in August.
“He’s got a lot to prove and I’m excited. It excites me to see that kind of Dele, he has fantastic quality and if he plays like he did today he will be in a very good place.”
Alli, who earns £100,000-a-week (Spotrac), can’t seem to recapture his best form and has been left out of four of the six Premier League matches this season.
Despite having brilliant individual talent, Mourinho has not taken a liking to him like some of his teammates – with Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele favoured as creative midfielders.
Alli has only made five first-team appearances across all competitions so far this season and he’s going to need to do something special when he does get a chance on the pitch to turn things around.
Spurs face Belgian side Antwerp on Thursday evening in the Europa League group stages and it could be a big game for him to try lay down a marker.