Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli is ‘similar to Frank Lampard’, according to Danny Muprhy, but needs to be given the freedom in which to truly fulfil his potential.
The 20-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable rise to prominence, going from League One to the Premier League and senior England recognition in the space of 18 hectic months.
He enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at the highest level in 2015-16, with regular outings at Spurs delivering 10 goals and a host of admirers.
Alli did, however, start to fade towards the end of the season and struggled to make an impact at Euro 2016.
He is enjoying another productive campaign this term, with four goals to his name, but now finds himself squarely under the spotlight.
Every performance is dissected in minute detail, with big things expected of a player considered to be the present and future for club and country.
Murphy is among those tipping the youngster to go far – suggesting that he could follow the lead of a modern day icon in Lampard – with Alli having shown that he is strong enough to ignore any critics and focus solely on getting the most out of his undoubted ability.
He told the Evening Standard: “He is similar to Frank Lampard in the way he appreciates space and times his runs to ensure he finds great goalscoring positions. He is hard for midfielders to track, or for defenders to pick up when he is running towards them.
“The only thing that he has lacked compared to last year is accurate finishing but I have not seen him hide once. Even if he misses a couple of chances, he will continue to make the same runs until he takes one of them.
“That probably sounds easier than it is. Even experienced players struggle with it sometimes. If things aren’t working for you, it’s hard to tell yourself to keep at it. I used to have chats with myself during games if things were going badly… ‘Go and get the ball, make something happen.’
“Alli has that quality at a very young age. In his second season at this level, he will have realised that more opponents are aware of his qualities and will have made plans to try to stop him.
“But Alli is lucky because it is not easy to stop him. He is a terrific player who must be given the freedom to crack on. He is willing, he is brave, he is hugely effective. If he doesn’t play well for a game or two, what does it matter?”
Tottenham are next in Premier League action on Tuesday, when Mauricio Pochettino takes his top-four hopefuls to St Mary’s to face his former club Southampton.
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