Neville says ‘outstanding’ Spurs player can’t just blame Mourinho for his poor form

Nathaniel Kay February 16, 2021
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Gary Neville has demanded Dele Alli steps up at Tottenham Hotspur insisting Jose Mourinho isn’t the sole reason for his lack of game time this season, speaking on Sky Sports Monday Night Football.

Neville and fellow pundit Jamie Carragher were discussing where Spurs’ season is heading after their latest humbling at the hands of Manchester City.

The result saw Tottenham drop to ninth in the table and was a fourth loss in five Premier League outings.

However, there’s plenty of football to come, with Spurs still in contention for both domestic cups and the Europa League while retaining ambitions of finishing in the top four.

Dele can do more

Tottenham’s campaign could swing in either direction and Neville believes one way to tip the balance is to get the best out of two underused stars.

“Is he going to bring Dele Alli and (Gareth) Bale around?”, the former Manchester United full-back asked.

“I’m not saying he has to pander to these players because, to be honest with you, Bale’s wound me up all season, smiling on the bench.

“Dele Alli, to be fair, I worked with him at England. I think he’s a brilliant talent – but he should be doing a lot more.”

Neville suggested that rather than laying the blame for his lack of football at Mourinho’s door, Alli needed to take responsibility himself.

He said: “I want a lot more from him. He’s an outstanding player.


“There’s a reason why his career is doing what it’s doing at the moment. It’s not just Jose Mourinho. Dele has to get hold of that himself.

“The Dele Alli and Bale situations need grabbing hold of and dealing with properly.”

Photo by Rui Vieira – Pool/Getty Images

Ghost of his former self

Dele’s dismal time in north London began towards the tail end of 2019/20. He missed a number of matches because of injury and hasn’t seemed to recover.

In 2020/21, the 24-year-old has amassed just five league appearances amid further fitness problems.

In the few moments Alli has been used by Mourinho, the England international has looked a shadow of the star named PFA Young Player of the Year in 2017.

Alli and Harry

Alli’s link play with Harry Kane shone during what was a watershed moment in the midfielder’s career.

But Mourinho has been unable to pair the two England internationals this season and Kane has formed a lethal partnership with Son Heung-min instead.

If the Spurs boss is to get more out of Alli, there’s a sense he needs to be linking with the Spurs skipper again.

With so many matches to come, Tottenham could do with a fit and firing Dele Alli – and Gareth Bale.

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.