Bamidele Jermaine AlliÂ (born 11 April 1996;Â /ËˆdÉ›liÂ ËˆÃ¦li/Â DEL-eeÂ AL-ee;) is an English professionalÂ footballerÂ who plays as aÂ midfielderÂ forÂ Premier LeagueÂ clubÂ Tottenham HotspurÂ and theÂ England national team.
Born and raised inÂ Milton Keynes, he joined the youth system atÂ Milton Keynes DonsÂ aged 11 and broke into the first team five years later, during theÂ 2012â€“13 season. Over the next two-and-a-half years he made 88 official appearances for the team, scoring 24 goals. He signed for Tottenham Hotspur in February 2015 for an initial fee of Â£5Â million, being loaned back to the Dons for the remainder of the season. In each of his first two campaigns atÂ White Hart Lane, Alli was voted theÂ PFA Young Player of the YearÂ and made theÂ PFA Team of the Year.
Alli played for the EnglandÂ U17,Â U18Â andÂ U19Â teams, before making his senior debut in 2015. He was selected forÂ UEFA Euro 2016Â and theÂ 2018 FIFA World Cup, helping England to the semi-finals of the latter.
Milton Keynes Dons
Alli joined the youth system atÂ Milton Keynes DonsÂ when he was 11 years old.Â He made his debut for the first team as a sixteen-year-old on 2 November 2012, coming on as a 64th-minute substitute forÂ Jay O’SheaÂ in a 0â€“0 draw withÂ Southern Football LeagueÂ clubÂ Cambridge CityÂ in theÂ FA CupÂ first round at Milton Road.Â His first touch in professional football was a back-heeled pass.Â His first goal came in the replay against Cambridge eleven days later, where he scored in a 6â€“1 win atÂ Stadium MKÂ on his first start.Â He made his league debut in a 2â€“3 defeat toÂ Coventry CityÂ at home on 29 December, where he played 71 minutes before being replaced byÂ Zeli Ismail.Â His only other league appearance in theÂ 2012â€“13 Football League OneÂ season, came as a second-half substitute forÂ Patrick BamfordÂ in the last match of the season, a 2â€“0 win overÂ StevenageÂ atÂ Broadhall Way.
The 2013â€“14 season saw Alli break into the MK Dons first team on a regular basis. He started the Dons’ first league match of the season, a 0â€“0 draw away atÂ Shrewsbury Town.Â In his firstÂ Football League TrophyÂ appearance, Alli scored to help MK Dons beatÂ Northampton TownÂ 2â€“0 and thus progress to the second round of the tournament.Â On 28 September, Alli scored his first professional league goal in the 4â€“1 thrashing of Stevenage.Â After being in and out of the first team picture in late 2013 due to injury setbacks, Alli would go on and establish himself as a first-choice player in 2014. He scored the opening goal in the 3â€“2 win over Shrewsbury Town at Stadium mk on 11 January, with a header fromÂ Stephen Gleeson‘s pinpoint pass.Â On 11 March, againstÂ Notts CountyÂ atÂ Meadow Lane, aged 17 years and 11 months old, Alli scored a hat-trick to guide the ‘Dons to a 3â€“1 victory.Â His next and final goal of the 2013â€“14 season, came on 5 April against Coventry City at theÂ Sixfields Stadium; Alli struck a thunderous volley from 25 yards out as MK Dons defeated Coventry, 2â€“1.Â He made 37 appearances in all competitions during the 2013â€“14 season, scoring 7 times, with 33 appearances and 6 goals in the league.
With the departure of Gleeson toÂ Birmingham CityÂ in June 2014,Â Alli became the first-choice central midfield partner toÂ Darren Potter. He started the season brightly, playing the first league match of the season as the Dons overcame a 2â€“0 deficit to defeat Gillingham, 4â€“2.Â He then helped the team to a 3â€“1 win over arch-enemies,Â AFC Wimbledon, in the League Cup first round.Â His first goal of the 2014â€“15 season came in the first away league match, a 3â€“2 defeat toÂ Peterborough United, where he scored a tap-in fromÂ Will Grigg‘s deflected shot.
On 26 August, Alli played the full 90 minutes in theÂ League CupÂ second round as MK Dons recorded a historic 4â€“0 win overÂ Manchester United.Â It was reported that numerous scouts from top clubs across Europe attended the match to watch him play, including representatives fromÂ Bayern MunichÂ andÂ Liverpool.Â In the match after the 4â€“0 League Cup win over Manchester United, Alli continued his rich vein of form with a goal curled in from the edge of the box in a 2â€“0 win overÂ Crawley Town.Â After the international break, Alli played 77 minutes in the 5â€“3 win against Barnsley, assisting the Dons second goal and scoring their third goal himself with a chip over the Barnsley goalkeeper.Â He was chosen as theÂ Football League Young Player of the MonthÂ for August.
On 18 September, Alli extended his contract with MK Dons until June 2017.Â Two days later, in a match againstÂ Crewe Alexandra, he scored a hat-trick and achieved one assist in what turned out to be a 6â€“1 victory for the Dons. It was the second hat-trick of his career and the first he achieved at home, which also led to him winning the Man of the Match award.
On 2 February 2015, Alli signed forÂ Premier LeagueÂ clubÂ Tottenham HotspurÂ in the last hours of the mid-season transfer window on a five-and-a-half-year deal for an initial fee of Â£5Â million.
Milton Keynes Dons (loan)
Following his transfer to Tottenham Hotspur, Alli was immediately loaned back to MK Dons for the remainder of the 2014â€“15 season.Â On 19 April, he was chosen as the Young Player of the Year at theÂ Football League Awards.Â The season ended on 3 May with Milton Keynes Dons promoted automatically to theÂ ChampionshipÂ as runners-up behindÂ Bristol City, after a 5â€“1 home win over relegatedÂ Yeovil Town.
On 8 August 2015, Alli made his Tottenham debut against Manchester United in the Premier League as a substitute in a 1â€“0 defeat away atÂ Old Trafford, playing the last 13 minutes in place ofÂ Eric Dier.Â Two weeks later, he scored his first goal for the club after coming on forÂ Christian EriksenÂ in the 1â€“1 draw againstÂ Leicester City.
On 13 September, Alli made his first start for Tottenham in a 1â€“0 win againstÂ SunderlandÂ at theÂ Stadium of Light.Â On 2 November, he started and scored the second goal in an eventual 3â€“1 win overÂ Aston Villa.Â Six days later he started his firstÂ North London DerbyÂ alongside fellow England youngster Dier in central midfield, and was awarded Man of the Match in the 1â€“1 draw between rivals Arsenal and Tottenham.Â On 5 December 2015, he scored his third goal for Tottenham in the 2015â€“16 campaign in a 1â€“1 draw againstÂ West Bromwich AlbionÂ atÂ The Hawthorns.
Following an impressive start to his Premier League career scoring five goals and making three assists in his first 18 league matches, he was rewarded with a new long-term contract until 2021 on 12 January.Â Eleven days later he scored a 25-yard volley in a 3â€“1 win atÂ Crystal Palace;Â BBC SportÂ pundit and former Spurs playerÂ Garth CrooksÂ wrote “Well, I’ve seen some glorious goals scored in my time watching football matches but I doubt whether I will see a goal scored with such individual flair, and by a 19-year-old, as Dele Alli’s goal atÂ Selhurst ParkÂ â€“ it was sheer class”.Â On 13 April, he was named on the six-man shortlist for 2015â€“16’sÂ PFA Young Player of the Year.
On 18 April 2016, he scored his first brace for Tottenham in a 0â€“4 away win atÂ Stoke City,Â reaching ten goals in his debut Premier League season.Â He was voted the season’s PFA Young Player of the Year.Â On 28 April, Alli was banned by the Football Association for three matches, effectively ending his Premier League season, for an off-the-ball incident against West Bromwich Albion in which he punched midfielderÂ Claudio YacobÂ in the stomach. He later apologised for the incident on Twitter, stating, “Gutted that my season is over. Shouldn’t have reacted like I did. Will learn from this and come back stronger.”
Ahead of the season, Alli changed his kit name to Dele, saying that he had “no connection” to his legal surname due to his separation from his mother.Â His first goal of the season came in a 4â€“0 win against Stoke City on 10 September 2016.Â Four days later, he made hisÂ UEFA Champions LeagueÂ debut in a 1â€“2 loss toÂ AS MonacoÂ atÂ Wembley Stadium.Â His first Champions League goal came againstÂ CSKA MoscowÂ at the same stadium on 7 December 2016.Â Between 18 December 2016 and 21 January 2017, Alli scored eight goals in six league matches, earning the award ofÂ Premier League Player of the MonthÂ award for January 2017. This included three consecutive braces againstÂ Southampton,Â WatfordÂ andÂ Chelsea.
On 23 February, Alli received his first red card for a dangerous tackle onÂ Brecht DejaegereÂ in Tottenham’sÂ UEFA Europa LeagueÂ draw withÂ K.A.A. GentÂ which saw Spurs eliminated at theÂ Round of 32Â stage of the competition.Â On 20 April 2017, Alli was again named in theÂ PFA Team of the Year,Â having been included in the League One selection for 2015Â and the Premier League selection in 2016.Â On 23 April, he was named the PFA Young Player of the Year,Â the day after scoring in Tottenham’s 4â€“2Â FA CupÂ semi-final loss to rivals Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.
Alli scored his first goal of the season in the opening game of theÂ 2017â€“18 seasonÂ away at Newcastle that finished in a 2â€“0 win.Â However, he was criticised for his inconsistency this season, failing to perform as well as the previous season.Â On 1 April 2018, Alli scored twice in the away fixture against Chelsea, helping Tottenham win 3â€“1, which was their first win in 28 years atÂ Stamford Bridge.
On 26 September, Alli was named asÂ captainÂ for Tottenham’sÂ EFL CupÂ third round tie withÂ Watford. The tie, played atÂ Stadium MKÂ due to delays in the completion of Tottenham’sÂ new stadium, marked Alli’s return to the home ground of his boyhood clubÂ MK Dons, and the return to his home town ofÂ Milton KeynesÂ for the first time as a Tottenham player. The tie finished 2â€“2, with Alli scoring both aÂ penaltyÂ in normal time and the winning penalty in a decidingÂ penalty shoot-out.
In October 2018, Alli signed a new six-year deal at Tottenham, which would keep him at the club until 2024.Â He also scored in the 3â€“1 home win against Chelsea, which was his sixth goal in five games against Chelsea, and the first defeat for Chelsea in the Premier League this season.Â In January 2019 he was rule out until March with a hamstring injury.
Alli missed the start of the season due to a hamstring injury.Â He returned to the team in the North London Derby on 1 September 2019, coming on as a substitute.Â He scored his first goal of the season in the match against Watford, drawing 1â€“1.Â In November 2019,Â Mauricio PochettinoÂ was dismissed by the club to be replaced byÂ JosÃ© Mourinho. Mourinho played Alli as an attacking player just behindÂ Harry Kane, reverting to his earlier position after playing in a deeper midfield role the previous two years. According to Mourinho, “Dele is not a midfield player”.Â The attacking role gave Alli greater freedom to score, and he scored three goals in his first three games under Mourinho, two of which came in the game againstÂ Bournemouth.
In February 2020, shortly after the outbreak of theÂ coronavirus, Alli posted a video onÂ SnapchatÂ in which he joked about the outbreak and appeared to mock an Asian man. Alli later deleted the post and released a video apology onÂ Weibo.Â He was charged with misconduct by theÂ Football AssociationÂ over the incidence.
Alli has made several appearances at U17 and U18 levels for England.Â On 27 August 2014, Alli was called up to the England U19 squad following an impressive start to the campaign.Â He made his debut for England U19 in the 1â€“1 draw against Germany U19. In the match, Alli assisted the opening goal feeding a through ball toÂ Bradley FewsterÂ who gave England a 1â€“0 lead.
In February 2015, it was reported thatÂ John FashanuÂ would try to convince Alli to play for Nigeria.Â However, on 1 October of that year, he was included inÂ Roy Hodgson‘sÂ EnglandÂ squad for the finalÂ UEFA Euro 2016 qualifyingÂ matches againstÂ EstoniaÂ andÂ Lithuania.Â He made his debut against the former on 9 October,
On 17 November 2015, Alli made his first start for the England senior team, scoring the opening goal from a long range shot to beat Spurs teammate, goalkeeperÂ Hugo LlorisÂ in a 2â€“0 win againstÂ FranceÂ at Wembley Stadium.Â He was again named in the starting line-up for England’s friendly match against world championsÂ GermanyÂ on 26 March 2016. Alli was named man of the match by theÂ BBCÂ as England recovered from 0â€“2 down to win 3â€“2 at the BerlinÂ Olympiastadion.
Alli was selected for the 23-man EnglandÂ squadÂ for theÂ 2018 FIFA World Cup.Â On 7 July, Alli scored the second goal of the game in a 2â€“0 win overÂ SwedenÂ in theÂ quarter-finalsÂ of the competition, as England reached theÂ semi-finalsÂ for the first time in 28 years.Â Alli played for England in theÂ semi-final matchÂ againstÂ Croatia, winning a free-kick through which England took the lead, though they eventually lost 2â€“1 followingÂ extra-time.
In October 2019 he was left out of the England squad for forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifying matches.
Style of play
Alli is widely considered one of the best youngÂ midfieldersÂ of his generation,Â and has won PFA Young Player of the Year twice in a row while only 21.Â He is also considered an all-round player who can play effectively as aÂ second striker.Â According toÂ Mauricio Pochettino: “In the box, he looks like a striker, and outside the box, he plays like a midfielder.”Â Rafael van der VaartÂ said of Alli that he is “fast, fluid and has a great skill set”,Â while Frank Lampard praised Alli’s intelligence in his ability “to get into the box without being marked”.
Alli watches the best players to try to learn from their style of play, includingÂ Lionel Messi,Â Xabi Alonso,Â AndrÃ©s IniestaÂ andÂ XaviÂ as well as his idol Steven Gerrard.Â His teammateÂ Harry WinksÂ described Alli as being likeÂ Fernandinho, but Dele Alli has described his own playing style as “a cross between Gerrard andÂ Yaya TourÃ©.”Â Alli has been widely accused of diving and has received bookings for simulation.
Alli was born inÂ Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire,Â to aÂ YorubaÂ Nigerian father KehindeÂ and English mother Denise. Kehinde moved to the United States a week after Alli’s birth.Â Alli was initially brought up by his mother, who suffered from alcohol problems.Â At the age of nine, he moved to Nigeria with his father, where he spent two years in anÂ international schoolÂ before returning to Milton Keynes to live with his mother.Â Alli went toÂ Stantonbury CampusÂ andÂ The Radcliffe SchoolÂ inÂ Wolverton.
At the age of 13, he moved into the family home of Alan and Sally Hickford, parents of another young footballer with MK Dons and whom he refers to as his “adoptive parents” although he was never legally adopted by them.Â In the summer of 2016, Alli elected to stop wearing his surname on his match shirts because he felt no connection with the Alli family name, instead opting for “Dele”.
Alli was a Liverpool fan growing up withÂ Steven GerrardÂ his childhood idol,Â and saw Gerrard andÂ Frank LampardÂ as good role models on how they act as professionals.Â He is also a fan ofÂ British hip hopÂ music, which led rapperÂ CadetÂ to release a single referencing the footballer, “Advice“.
- As of match played 1 March 2020
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Milton Keynes Dons||2011â€“12||League One||0||0||0||0||0||0||â€”||0||0||0||0|
|Tottenham Hotspur||2015â€“16||Premier League||33||10||3||0||1||0||9[b]||0||â€”||46||10|
- As of match played 9 June 2019
- As of match played 9 June 2019. England score listed first, score column indicates score after each Alli goal.
|1||17 November 2015||Wembley Stadium, London, England||4||Â France||1â€“0||2â€“0||Friendly|||
|2||8 October 2016||Wembley Stadium, London, England||14||Â Malta||2â€“0||2â€“0||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|||
|3||7 July 2018||Samara Arena, Samara, Russia||28||Â Sweden||2â€“0||2â€“0||2018 FIFA World Cup|||
Milton Keynes Dons
- Milton Keynes DonsÂ Young Player of the Year:Â 2013â€“14
- Football League Young Player of the Month: August 2014
- Football League One Player of the Month: January 2015
- Football League Young Player of the Year:Â 2014â€“15
- Milton Keynes Dons Player’s Player of the Year:Â 2014â€“15
- BBC Goal of the Season:Â 2015â€“16
- PFA Young Player of the Year:Â 2015â€“16,Â 2016â€“17
- Premier League Player of the Month:Â January 2017
- PFA Team of the Year:Â 2014â€“15 League One,Â 2015â€“16 Premier League,Â 2016â€“17 Premier League