Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli returned to action for Spurs on Thursday night as Jose Mourinho’s charges progressed to the Europa League group stage.
The 24-year-old replaced Giovani Lo Celso at half-time and won and scored a stoppage-time penalty en route to a superb 7-2 win over Maccabi Haifa.
One particular moment of magic saw him skilfully nutmeg Bogdan Planic before bearing down on goal and being hauled down for the spot kick.
Alli’s appearance at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was only his third of the season, Mourinho omitting the England international from four competitive matchday squads.
Indeed, Alli’s future at Spurs remains uncertain, with Paris Saint-Germain reportedly interested in signing the player on loan, though they appear to have been turned down so far.
The Telegraph claimed on Thursday that PSG have tabled one final offer to sign Alli on loan, with the French champions having until Monday’s deadline to complete a deal.
Former Spurs midfielder Danny Murphy believes the speculation around his future is affecting his physical performance, despite his good display last time out.
“That [play to win the penalty] is the ability he has. He is a street footballer, that is what you pay to watch,” Murphy told Premier Sports, via the Daily Mail.
“But he didn’t look himself, it looked hard work for him at times. I think there is physically a problem when you are not mentally right.
“When you don’t know what your future holds, I think it affects you physically.”
Graham Roberts, meanwhile, was delighted to see Alli back on the pitch and pulling off exciting tricks and plays.
That’s the @dele_official I love 🙏💪
— Graham Roberts (@GrahamRoberts4) October 1, 2020
Spurs’ run of a game every two days is now over, with Sunday afternoon the next time Mourinho’s charges are in action, travelling to Manchester United in the Premier League.
Mourinho is known to be a coach who demands high standards, and Alli didn’t seem to be meeting them beforehand, but he has upped his game and is now back in contention for game time.
With both Mourinho and Alli being high-profile, “box office” football figures, a perceived falling out between the two is always going to get the media spotlight shining right on them.
Let’s face it, the likelihood of Alli leaving Spurs before Monday is very low, and if he continues to keep to high standards and make Mourinho’s squads regularly, then this saga will all be forgotten about soon enough.