Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli hasn’t exactly had the best of seasons, with Jose Mourinho giving him little game time for much of the campaign.
Indeed, the 25-year-old was reportedly eyeing a departure from Spurs in January, but Daniel Levy is said to have blocked a loan move to Paris Saint-Germain.
After the transfer window shut and Alli recovered from a tendon issue, he played in four consecutive Premier League games, but just one of those was as a starter.
Mourinho is obviously no longer at Spurs, and caretaker manager Ryan Mason opted to hand Alli his third league start of the season against Sheffield United.
“Dele’s had an excellent training week,” the Spurs interim boss is quoted by football.london as saying ahead of the game.
“I feel like he’s stood out and I want to reward him for that. He’s shown a hunger to compete in training. He’s fit and I know what he’s capable of.”
Alli played 78 minutes against the Blades and put in a promising performance with flashes of class, prompting the Evening Standard to give him an 8 out of 10 rating.
“Looked a little rusty at times and occasionally on a different wavelength to his teammates,” wrote the outlet.
“But determined to be involved and full of clever touches and intelligent runs, which created problems for United.”
Mourinho really made us think Dele Alli no longer had it
— PRESIDER (@iam_presider) May 2, 2021
— Shapeshifter (@TryShapeshifter) May 2, 2021
Admittedly, Alli will need time to get back up to full match sharpness given he’s started just three league games all season.
But between Mason singing his former teammate’s praises in terms of how he trained and the performance he subsequently put in, you can’t help but wonder whether Alli will follow Gareth Bale in proving Mourinho completely wrong.