Football Expert & Columnist
Dele Alli must step up and deliver against Chelsea after England setback, says Jamie Redknapp
Last Updated: 01/04/18 3:49pm
Dele Alli must respond to his England setback and answer his critics with a big performance at Chelsea, says Jamie Redknapp.
Dele Alli will have had a shock this week while away on England duty. There's no doubt he's a great player. And the way he plays suggests he knows that too. But being left out by Gareth Southgate will have hurt him.
It will be interesting to see how he reacts.
I'm a big fan of him. Put it this way - England aren't good enough to leave him out at the World Cup. He's that good. He would get into most teams in the world.
But he has to prove to Southgate he has the mentality and discipline to be a team player and deliver. That's what Jesse Lingard has done.
Mauricio Pochettino has continued to back Alli and continued to remind everyone he's still only 21, which explains some of the ups and downs.
He certainly hasn't hit the heights of last year. He currently has six goals and nine assists in the Premier League. At the same stage last season he had 15 goals and five assists. Back then he had a lot of hunger. Now there seems to be an element of arrogance.
There have also been one or two misdemeanours which haven't endeared him to people and he gets involved in things he shouldn't.
I know you can't do it every year and he's a young player. But this will be a learning curve for him. He has all the ability to get into that England team, so if he isn't being selected there's something wrong which he needs to address.
Raheem Sterling has got that maturity in his game now. He is taking games by the scruff of the neck - and that's what we need to see Dele Alli doing.
At the same time, Lingard has improved immensely and Raheem Sterling has got that maturity in his game now. The Manchester City man is taking games by the scruff of the neck - and that's what we need to see Dele Alli doing.
His 100th Premier League appearance on Sunday would be a great time to show that, especially with Harry Kane likely to be missing.
There has been a lot of talk about Tottenham's terrible record at Stamford Bridge, where they haven't won since 1990, but they've also got an awful record in these crucial away games against the Big Six.
Have they progressed and matured since that Battle of the Bridge at Chelsea two seasons ago? If you look at their record in these games, you can't say they have.
It's now just one win in 19 away games against Big Six sides under Pochettino.
Against Liverpool at Anfield, there was all the drama and excitement at the end but that meant people forgot Spurs could have been 2-0 or 3-0 down at half-time. They never really got to grips with what Liverpool were doing that day.
There's still a lot of work to be done by Tottenham away from home against the big sides.
However, they go into this one in a strong position. They're five points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea and even a draw would be a great result for them, meaning they can keep their London rivals at bay for that top four spot.
For Chelsea, it's a must-win. If that gap stretches to eight points, it will be too big a gap to come back from.
To be honest, I think even if Spurs were to lose, I'd still expect them to qualify for the Champions League ahead of Chelsea. They're in a healthier state right now and have the edge.
That would be a disappointment for Antonio Conte, in what I suspect will be his final season in charge at Chelsea. But after winning the title so impressively last season, if he can sign off by winning the FA Cup, he will still be able to look back on two successful years and leave with his head held high.
Chelsea have Eden Hazard fit and on form. He was missing from Chelsea's win at Wembley over Spurs back in August and has the ability to turn the game in their favour on his own.
The home side may need that creative spark, as I don't expect Tottenham to be too open at Stamford Bridge. This is likely to be a tight game and I think it will end in a draw. A result which would suit Spurs just fine.
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