Only Dele Alli can end "up or down" debate

by   |   08/03/2022  0 Comments  [Jump to last]

Dele Alli really should not require any added motivation to make a success of his spell at Everton, but he is being given some regardless.

A man once widely heralded as the finest goal-scoring midfielder in English football has seen his star wane to the point that he was allowed to head out of both sight and mind at Tottenham in January. A move elsewhere had to be made in order to try and reignite a lost spark.

Frank Lampard – who was pretty decent at finding the back of a net himself once upon a time – is being charged with the task of proving that Alli is no spent force. He needs that process to work both ways as Everton are still a big-priced 29/1 for a Premier League top-half finish in football bets from Space Casino.

The going has been tough as a collective for those at Goodison Park this season, but a flurry of fresh faces arrived on transfer deadline day in a bid to start turning that tide.

Alli was among those welcomed through the doors, but it was always going to take a while for a player short on competitive game time to find his feet in new surroundings.

Patience will be shown by Lampard, though, with the Toffees boss saying of a mercurial talent: “I don't think we have to panic, to rush, when we signed Dele I certainly saw it as a long-term plan because I really have that massive belief in him as a player.”

Point to prove

Those words will be music to Alli’s ears as he has been in desperate need of backing from a supportive manager over recent years.

The coach currently calling the shots at his last club does not appear to hold out much hope of a career corner being turned while a reversal in fortune is sought away from the once-comforting surrounds of Spurs.

Antonio Conte has said of those allowed to leave his ranks: “Honestly, I don’t remember a player that had revenge with me. When some players went away, usually they went down, not up — usually.”

There is a trend that can be bucked there, but doing so will not be easy. There is, after all, a reason why Alli has been allowed to trade life in north London for that in the North West, and that has to do with contributions – or a lack of – being made to a collective cause.

You do not have to turn the block back far in which to find a time when such struggles would have been unimaginable, with any change of scenery expected to see a big transfer fee trade hands as bags were packed for foreign climes.

Alli has ended up on Merseyside, rather than Milan or Madrid, but that could prove to be of greater benefit to him in the long run. Yes, a career rollercoaster has become rather stuck on a downward track – with Conte’s words now ringing in his ears – but another hill can be climbed if the right level of commitment is shown to turn doubters into believers.

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