Starting as an 11 year old with his hometown club, Dele Alli developed into an impressive young midfielder, who was chased by a number of Premier League teams.
His father left for
America a week after Dele's birth, leaving him to be
brought up by his mother, who reportedly had problems
with alcohol, so he moved in with a local family whose
son was also with MK Dons and he regards Alan and Sally
Hickford as his unoffically "adoptive" parents.
The youngster attended Stantonbury Campus and The
Radcliffe School in Wolverton locally
A midfield creator, with good technical ability and an excellent passing range, Dele also contributed with a fair share of goals; many of them spectacular. Despite being only 16 when he made his debut, his confidence was shown by his first touch being a back-heel !! He became a first team regular in 2013-14 and his career took off from there.
Alli helped his team to promotion to the Championship, with his loan back from Tottenham in January 2015 being critical in helping them achieve their highest league position in the club's short history.
Working from box-to-box, Alli is a natural athlete who can tackle, dribble and win the ball in the air. With many other clubs clamouring for his services, even after he returned to Spurs at the end of 2014-15, his development at Spurs, in a young side, will be interesting to follow.
His time at Tottenham started well, with pre-season games in America and Germany (including a nut-meg on former Spurs midfielder Luka Modric !) that earned him a sub's appearance at Old Trafford on the first day of the 2015-16 season. This was just the start of two dream seasons as the midfielder became a permanent member of the Tottenham midfield and fitted into the team perfectly, playing a major part in the team's third and second places in the Premier League. His ability top drift into dangerous positions made him a difficult opponent to play against, so he would find himself the target of wind-up tactics to get him to react and a punch on West Bromwich Albion's Claudio Yacob saw him banned towards the end of his first season.
Dele scored some fantastic individual goals, but it was his contribution to the team that made him such an important player and earned him an international call-up that turned into a regular England starting position. Dele opted to play for England at youth level, but his father is Nigerian and he could play for the African nation should he so chose at senior level. He also chose to drop the Alli from his shirt at the start of 2016-17, preferring just to be known by his shortened first name than the name of the family he was estranged from.
Playing in the Champions
League, he stepped up his game and after a ban for a
sending off against Gent in the Europa League in
2016-17, he returned to score twice against Real Madrid
in a 3-1 win that made him a prime target for transfer
talk. But the first half of the 2017-18 season,
away from White Hart Lane at Wembley, saw him drop below
the high standards he had achieved in the previous two
campaigns. He was still contributing to the team,
but the dip in form is not inconsistent with most young
players who break into the first team of top clubs.