When the England squad was announced last week, the big news was undoubtedly the return of Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard.
The 28-year-old had been out of favour at Man Utd and with England for some time, but has undoubtedly merited his recall since his impressive form on loan at West Ham.
Few will have batted an eyelid at the fact that Tottenham’s Dele Alli didn’t get into Gareth Southgate’s squad, despite the 24-year-old at one point looking set for stardom at the very highest level.
Alli has three goals in 37 England caps, but hasn’t been involved with the national team since 2019, and after his struggles for Spurs this season it looks like it could be a long way back for him.
Still, Alli’s former team-mate Luke Chadwick has heaped praise onto the ex-MK Dons youngster, hailing him as an “incredible talent” who could do with following Lingard’s example if he wants to get back into Southgate’s thinking.
Chadwick was at MK Dons when Alli first broke into their first-team, and spoke to CaughtOffside about his first impressions of him.
“I played with him at MK Dons and he first trained with us a schoolboy,” Chadwick said. “You could see from the first time he joined training he was something incredibly special, not just in terms of what he could do on the pitch but his confidence he showed to express himself, which is not always easy to do as a youngster coming into train in a League Two team, where the technicality is not always as great as it could be.
“He was a breath of fresh air, he’d get kicked up in the air a lot but he’d take that on the chin and get up again. His mentality was great, his ability to work hard – he was always destined for great things.”
Alli then moved to Tottenham and hit the ground running, with Chadwick admitting he was surprised at just how quickly it all happened for him in the Premier League.
“I was quite surprised at how quickly that happened for him. He went straight to Spurs and was a revelation straight away,” Chadwick said.
“Obviously he’s not kept to that level, but that happens. I always think about the 2018 World Cup where he was one of the top players … similarly to Jesse Lingard, who was also one of the top players in that tournament, and how Lingard’s com back after a real struggle in the last couple of seasons. He’s gone to another club and shown what he’s all about.
“I think Dele could take great heart from what’s happened with Jesse as well. Maybe he’ll go on to get another chance at Spurs or maybe go to pastures new and that might be what he needs to get back into form.”
Either way, Chadwick says he’s confident Alli will play for England again as he’s still backing him to have a great career.
“I’m 100% confident that Dele Alli will play for England again and will be a top, top player,” he added. “Players like him don’t come along very often. He’s an incredible talent … having seen him up close as a young man. You have dips in your career and maybe some managers don’t give you the chance that others have, but it’s down to Dele to find a manager to trust him again and build a team around him.
“He’s without a doubt a world class player with all the attributes to kick on again as we’ve seen with the way that Jesse Lingard’s done so well at West Ham since taking a step away from Manchester United.”
Could Alli do well to listen to his old team-mate here and consider leaving Tottenham in order to get his career back on track as Lingard has?