Danny Murphy has told The Daily Mail that he can see Tottenham Hotspur star Dele Alli rebuilding his career in the same fashion as Jesse Lingard has this year.
Even before Mauricio Pochettino left Spurs, the 25-year-old midfielder was majorly struggling for form.
And being honest, the England international seemed to go backwards even more during Jose Mourinho’s 18-month spell in charge in North London.
Alli started only seven Premier League games for Tottenham last season, but five of those came after Mourinho was sacked in April.
Goals like his lob at Arsenal or that volley at Crystal Palace seem a long, long time ago now, such has been his decline.
Lingard joined West Ham on a half-season loan from Manchester United in January and was one of the Premier League’s best performers during the second half of the campaign.
And Murphy believes that Alli has it within him to do something similar under Nuno Espirito Santo this season, especially with doubt over Harry Kane’s future.
He said: “With Gareth Bale gone and Harry Kane possibly going, there is more responsibility on Dele Alli and that could be just what the 25-year-old needs, allied to a fresh start under a new manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
“For whatever reason, the last couple of years have been tough for him but a change at the top can be like a new lease of life for some players and an in-form Dele would feel like a new signing for Spurs.
If he needs inspiration, he only needs to look at his former England team-mate Jesse Lingard who also suffered a hangover after Russia but exploded back into life at West Ham at the end of last season. The talent doesn’t leave you and there is no reason Dele shouldn’t return to his creative best and also get back into international contention.”
Alli’s problem in recent years has been much more about confidence than it has ability.
And that’s a good thing because with the right manager, the former MK Dons gem will be able to access the same sort of form that once made him one of Europe’s most exciting players.
Nuno is known to be a terrific man-manager and it’ll be fascinating to see whether the Portuguese can draw the same level of performance from Alli as Pochettino – who almost re-signed the player on loan for Paris Saint-Germain – did once upon a time.
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