Dele: 'Aim is to be the best player and person I can be'
Tue 30 October 2018, 12:01|Tottenham Hotspur
Dele Alli has lived the football dream since signing for us back in February, 2015. As he puts pen to paper on a new deal, he’s only looking ahead – and looking to improve.
In his first interview on Spurs TV, Dele said it was a ‘dream come true’ to be at Spurs.
Initially loaned back to MK Dons, he joined the squad in the summer of 2015. He made his debut off the bench at Old Trafford in August, 2015, scored his first goal in his second appearance against Leicester City and has continued to hit the heights since.
He’s won two PFA Young Player of the Year awards, BBC Match of the Day’s 2015/16 Goal of the Season for a stunning volley at Palace, already chalked up 153 appearances – scoring 48 goals – and earned 31 caps for England, playing at the Euro 2016 finals and helping the Three Lions to the semi-finals of the World Cup, scoring in the quarter-finals against Sweden.
But his feet are firmly on the ground.
“I’m very thankful to the Club, happy to finally sort it out,” Dele said on his new deal that runs until 2024. “The Club has been fantastic to me, helped me to improve with a great manager, great group of players and I couldn’t see myself improving as a player anywhere else.”
Reminded of that first interview and what he’s done since, typically, Dele takes it all in his stride.
He said: “It’s been a good few years but I don’t look too much into the past. I want to keep improving and I feel I’m at a great club to do that.
“The manager, the players, the staff here… it would be difficult for me not to improve. I’ll keep working hard every day and keep listening to the manager. Every player wants to start winning things and hopefully we can do that here.”
Dele is now one of the most recognised faces in football. His goal celebrations go viral – Zach Ertz was the latest global sports star to get involved when he scored a touchdown for the NFL’s reigning SuperBowl champions Philadelphia Eagles at Wembley on Sunday.
Has the spotlight changed him at all?
“I feel a lot more mature,” he smiled. “Other people may tell you differently but every opportunity I’ve had to learn I’ve tried to learn as much as I can and improve as a player and a person as well.
“The aim is to be the best player but also the best person I can possibly be. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to keep improving and keep learning.”
Meanwhile, Dele returned from injury off the bench against City on Monday night – a boost during this busy spell of seven games in 21 days with West Ham to follow in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.
He added: “I’m happy. I feel good. I feel fit, a little disappointed with the injury I’ve had recently but I’ve come back, I feel strong. I’ve been putting in some good work. I just want to kick on and try to help the team as much as I can, like I always try to do.”