Rio Ferdinand has told BT Sport (broadcast on 4/3; 20:06) that he thought Dele Alli was magnificent as Tottenham Hotspur beat Fulham 1-0 on Thursday.
Dele was handed the chance to make his first Premier League start since the opening day of the season as Spurs travelled to Craven Cottage.
And he vindicated that selection inside 19 minutes against Scott Parker’s side. His effort from Son Heung-min’s pass was turned in by Tosin Adarabioyo.
That proved to be the only goal. But his all-round performance was outstanding. As shown by Whoscored, he made two key passes and four tackles. In both areas, he finished as the top performer from either side.
And following the game, Ferdinand suggested that he saw glimpses of the old Dele in the victory for Tottenham.
“I feel here something today that I’ve not seen for a while: that running beyond the striker,” he told BT Sport. “That is how he made his name, that is what excited everybody about him, getting into the box, a bit like Frank Lampard, getting into the box and being cold once he gets in there.
“His runs off the ball I think are top, top level when he gets it right. His timing, his understanding of where to be. Today, I thought he was magnificent for that 60 minutes.”
It could be huge for Tottenham if Dele is getting back to his best. Jose Mourinho’s men are now pushing for the top four once again, and they have a number of players seemingly hitting something like their best form.
The 24-year-old can arguably be almost as good as any player in the league if he gets back on track. Thursday’s performance provided a further hint that he is gradually gathering some momentum.