Tottenham: Midfielder dismisses transfer rumours; defender reflects on injury
As Tottenham prepare for their midweek Premier League clash at home to Hull, looking to get back to winning ways after defeat at Manchester United, something which has been lingering away behind their preparations has been speculation over young Spurs star Dele Alli, who has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain for a reported £50million.
Now, the man himself has broken his silence over the rumours, and in an interview with Sky Sports, undertaken at a Premier League Kicks event in London, Alli has claimed he is happy at White Hart Lane and dismissed speculation linking him with a move away from North London.
The 20-year-old joined Spurs from MK Dons back in 2015 and made an instant impact, breaking into Mauricio Pochettino’s first-team at the club, winning the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2015-16 and forcing his way into the England fold, and it is clear that for him, Spurs is where his future lies.
“It’s all just rumours to be honest with you,” Alli said.
“I have just signed a new contract with Tottenham, I am happy here. I couldn’t think of a better place to be at my age.
“It has been a great year for me, I have had a lot of success in my career so far but I have got to keep improving, keep getting better, and make sure 2017 is even better.”
Spurs’ defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday saw them slip to fifth in the Premier League, cutting them adrift of leaders Chelsea by ten points. Alli however, holds firm in his belief that Spurs remain title contenders, despite the ground they have lost on the Blues.
“I think so,” he added. “We are a team that is confident in ourselves, we fancy ourselves against anyone.
“I think we need to be a little bit more consistent. We are still working on it and we are still working together as a team.
“But we have got a great side and we are happy to sit underneath the radar and just keep picking up points.
“It is no good being good in halves of games or in one game and not in the next one. When we find our rhythm, I am sure we will be a great team again.”
One huge boost for Spurs if they are to launch a serious title challenge will be the return of Toby Alderweireld from injury. The Belgian made his first league start since late October at Old Trafford, after spending several weeks sidelined with a knee injury sustained at West Brom.
The fit-again centre-back ended up missing nearly two months with the injury that was originally expected to heal relatively quickly.
Alderweireld sustained the damage at the Hawthorns after a collision with team-mate Jan Vertonghen, but manager Mauricio Pochettino expected Alderweireld to be available again after a short time as scans showed no ligament damage but, it turned out to be more severe than anticipated, and baffled the club’s doctors.
Alderweireld, speaking to the London Evening Standard, has now spoken about his relief for beating off his injury and being back in the thick of it for his club.
“It was an unusual injury, one in a million”, he said.
“It almost never happens in football. I got a hard knock on the nerve on the right side of my knee, so the nerve was shut down. All of my leg was shut down. When that happens, it takes a long time to ‘restart’ the nerve again, so it wasn’t an injury you could put a time limit on. If you pull a hamstring, you will probably be out for four to six weeks.
“With a nerve, you just don’t know”.
It turned out to be a painstaking and tedious process to get the defender match-fit again, but after two months of persistence, his perseverance was duly rewarded.
“My leg didn’t work and I had to start all over again. The nature of the problem also meant that for a while, my foot didn’t work properly, so I had do as much recovery work as possible without using my foot.
“I could walk, but not as I normally would, because it was difficult to lift up my foot. It was difficult for the medical staff to put a time on my recovery because we didn’t know. It could have been two weeks, six weeks, maybe three months more.
“We just had to do everything we could to stimulate the nerve and ensure I could come back as quickly as possible. It was very frustrating, but I had to use the frustration to work as hard as possible and be ready to come back.”
Now, his only focus is getting as many minutes of football under his belt as he can, and helping Spurs get their season back on track. They’ve certainly missed his presence in the back four, having won just two games in ten during his absence and crashing out of the Champions League.
“I knew that when the nerve started working normally again, I had to be able to play as quickly as possible, and that was my motivation. I feel fit, even better than I did, and I’m hungry to help the team”.
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