Dele: “I’m still the same kid I always have been”
19 September 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Dele Alli might have been able to travel on public transport to Sunderland a year ago. Now he’s photographed everywhere he goes.
The all-action midfielder has signed a new deal committing himself to the Club until 2022 - just over a year since making his first start in the Premier League at the Stadium of Light.
“I remember that game at Sunderland, I didn’t expect to play as quickly as I did and make an impact in the team,” said Dele. “It’s happened so quickly, starting at Tottenham, playing for England… it’s been a crazy year for me and there are so many people I have to thank.
“I’m happy to be at this Club and I can’t thank the manager and all the staff enough for everything they’ve done for me, and the fans, they’ve been right behind me since I signed. Hopefully there are a lot of good times to come.”
How life has changed for the young man from Milton Keynes.
Dele’s performances for Spurs earned international recognition and he took himself to another level of notoriety by belting home a 25-yarder on his first start for England against France at Wembley last November.
By the end of the season, he’d scored 10 goals to help us to a highest-ever third in the Premier League, been named PFA Young Player of the Year, made it into the PFA’s Team of the Year and won BBC Match of the Day’s coveted Goal of the Season for his wonder flick, turn and volley at Palace.
He was then selected for the summer’s European Championships and started three of the four matches in France.
“It was a crazy year and it still feels like a dream,” he added. “I have to keep trying to improve, I can’t get carried away, I have to keep trying to make each year better than the last. This will be a tough year to top but hopefully I can do it.”
So how has his life changed? “I’ve grown up!” he smiled. “Well, I’ve tried to grow up! I’ve got great people around me to help keep my feet on the ground and I’ll keep working hard on my football and keep trying to improve.”
What about all the attention? “It’s a bit surreal but I’m the same kid as I always have been, nothing has changed for me off the pitch, I’m still the same person and thankfully, like I said before, I’ve got great support around me.
“The hard work isn’t going to stop here. I have to keep working hard and keep fighting for my place in this team.”