The 23-year-old England international hit back at his critics in style with a fine goal against Everton on Sunday, as Spurs claimed a 1-1 draw
Dele Alli says he hasn’t paid too much attention to recent criticism of his Tottenham performances, claiming “some people just say it because it’s their job”.
The England international was heavily criticised by pundits Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Graeme Souness after Spurs’ defeat to Liverpool last week, with the outspoken trio questioning his commitment and desire.
Alli hit back on the pitch on Sunday, scoring a fine opening goal in his side’s 1-1 draw at Everton. When asked after the game whether such criticism could affect him, the 23-year-old seemed singularly non-plussed.
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“It depends who from,” he told Sky Sports. “There are certain people that obviously when they say something it hurts and it really kicks you up the backside and certain people who say stuff and you just roll your eyes at it and it’s in one ear and out of the other.
“Growing up, coming from League One into the Premier League, you have to have a strong mentality. Granted, I didn’t have the best of seasons last season, I picked up a few injuries or whatever but that’s all behind me now and I’m working hard.”
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has backed the midfielder in recent days, and challenged him to rediscover the ‘devil’ within himself on the pitch.
“Maybe last week against Liverpool I didn’t perform as well as I can but I think in the other games, Watford and in the Champions League, I think I’ve played well,” Alli added.
“People always say ‘can Dele get back to where he was?’ But I don’t want to get back to where I was, I want to go past that and keep improving. Some people just say it (criticism) because it’s their job to say something.”
Three points slipped from Tottenham’s grasp late on at Goodison Park as Cenk Tosun headed in a powerful stoppage-time equaliser, but the game was marred by a serious injury to Everton midfielder Andre Gomes.
The Portugal international was stretchered off after a collision involving Serge Aurier and Heung-min Son, with the latter controversially sent off.
Alli said Son had been “devastated” by the incident, adding that the South Korean was still in tears in the dressing room after the game.