Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli credits his successful season by learning from Christian Eriksen on and off the pitch, saying that it was a privilege to play alongside the Danish international this past term.
A big reason why Tottenham central/attacking midfielder, Dele Alli, was able to succeed in his Premier League debut mostly came down to Mauricio Pochettino’s faith in the young 20-year-old. As well as having the sheer natural ability to hold his own against opposing defenses.
But something that has been overlooked, appears to be Alli playing alongside with Christian Eriksen at the top of Spurs’ attacking midfield trio.
The Danish international has been Tottenham’s number 10 since his arrival because of his playmaking ability to read defenses and pick out the perfect pass to set his teammates up for a goal.
When Eriksen was forced to miss some time with an injury, the first option to replace him was Son Heung-Min until he too got injured. With two creative players on the sidelines, Mauricio Pochettino decided to move Dele Alli higher up the pitch and have Mousa Dembelé start at central midfield.
Last season with MK Dons, Alli spent time playing in the number 10 role as well as at central midfield, so it wasn’t unnatural for him. It also helped that he would routinely dribble up the field when he was playing deeper.
On and off the pitch, the one player who helped Dele Alli perfect his craft was none other than Christian Eriksen who ceded his position to move over to left midfield and remain a part of Mauricio Pochettino’s starting XI.
Naturally, the 24-year-old didn’t like playing out wide, but overtime he grew into his new role — which he had to — because Alli’s performances and a building relationship with Harry Kane proved to be too much for defenses.
Here’s how the England international summed it up when playing alongside the Danish playmaker in his first ever season in the Premier League and with Tottenham.
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“Christian is a great player – there’s no hiding the fact that he’s world class and he’s a joy to play with,” said Dele Alli (via Tottenham’s official site).
“He’s one of the players that you enjoy working with every day in training.”
“You get to watch him and see how hard he works on the training field and when you do that it’s no surprise when he produces on matchdays the way he does.”
“As a young player, to be able to watch someone like Eriksen, who is obviously young as well, for me it’s a great privilege.”
It’s to be expected that Alli will continue to grow as a player both on and off the field if he’s learning from someone like Christian Eriksen who has experienced the highs of winning championships with Ajax.
The Danish international’s winning mentality should rub off on Dele Alli (as well as others) to go along with his own abilities to help Tottenham have quite a formidable pair at attacking midfield just behind Kane.
It’s often said that strikers need good service up top, and with Christian Eriksen being Tottenham’s go-to number 10 for the last two seasons before this past year, he surely delivered and Spurs were able to score.
But with Alli now taking over Eriksen’s job, there hasn’t been a drop-off in production. In fact it seems to have gotten better with the two playing together — plus Érik Lamela improving each year and recording nine league assists.
Therefore, not only will Kane have plenty of scoring opportunities next year and beyond, but so will other Spurs players in finding the back of the net.