Tottenham’s Dele Alli says he is eyeing an England recall after showing signs of improvement under new manager Jose Mourinho.
The 23-year-old burst onto the scene as one of the most promising talents in the Premier League four years ago but has endured a difficult period over the past year, several injuries and a loss of form seeing the midfielder lose his place in the England squad.
Alli produced his best performance of the season as Tottenham beat West Ham 3-2 in Mourinho’s first game in charge, providing the assist for Son Heung-Min’s opener and thriving in an advanced role behind captain Harry Kane.
The performance was a marked improvement following a poor spell for Alli, with the Spurs star now determined to force his way back into Gareth Southgate’s plans ahead of next summer’s European Championships.
‘I want to be in the England squad. Every player who gets picked to play it is a huge honour and I have to do everything I can,’ Alli told a pre-match press conference.
‘I can’t blame Gareth or the coaches. You have to keep working hard to make sure they don’t have an option to leave me out.
‘I started the season slowly, I had an injury, in pre season, but I’ve been working hard. When I came back I felt strong, obviously apart form the Liverpool game because it was a bad game for me.
‘I performed very well in the others. I am trying to get back to, not where I was two years ago, but better than that.
‘I’ve had a lot of criticism but it didn’t shock me. Playing in the Premier League you expect, when you are not performing, to be criticised. Some people will always have an opinion.
‘It is great for social media but you cannot get too caught up in those opinions, you would only go down. I am my own biggest critic.
‘Some peoples’ opinions are for the right reasons and some are just to jump on the bandwagon.’
Alli and Tottenham return to Champions League action when they host Olympiakos tonight.
Spurs currently sit second in Group B on seven points, and will qualify for the knock-out stages with a game to spare if they beat the Greek side at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.