clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tottenham's Dele Alli earns Man of the Match honors in 2-0 England win over France

Dele Alli has now officially made his entrance on the world football stage.

Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Sometimes football truly is special. On a night that was full of emotion and pathos as the world continues to mourn the loss of life to senseless violence, England and France decided to play a meaningless game of football. It was moving, heartfelt, and wonderful, a "friendly" in every sense of the word.

For Tottenham Hotspur fans, it was even more special.  Four Five Spurs players made the squad, and three  -- Eric Dier, Harry Kane, and 19-year old midfielder Dele Alli -- started. For Alli, it was his first career start for England and his fourth cap, and he earned himself Man of the Match honors in England's 2-0 victory at Wembley Stadium. Alli was everywhere in this match, pressing in midfield, making tenacious tackles and ambitious passes, like he does for Spurs. His performance was highlighted by a (very slightly) deflected screamer of a goal that put England up 1-0.

It was a performance that England manager Roy Hodgson called "close to faultless."

"I don't think he was anything other than top class at any stage of the game. I thought he was quite outstanding. He deserves a lot of praise for that performance.

"We have got a lot of injuries but some players have come in and said 'you might have some big names missing, but you don't have to worry because I am here'.

"You cannot get as much of the ball as we had by missing many passes or tackles."

Alli himself called it "a perfect night," and England captain Wayne Rooney was effusive with praise.

There's always a danger when a player of Alli's caliber makes such an audacious debut on the international stage. No doubt the spotlight is shining fully on him now. The media is already gushing about Alli's performance, and with that level of scrutiny comes the inevitable pressure that Alli will now face to perform exceptionally every time he pulls on the England shirt.

That's a completely unfair burden for a 19 year old kid who was playing League One football just six months ago, but with tonight's performance Alli no longer has the luxury of flying under the radar. Like Harry Kane before him, he has now made his arrival on the global footballing stage. From here on out every success will be magnified, every failure examined. Expect the January transfer rumors to Manchester United and Chelsea imminently. Like it or not, Dele Alli has just become the UK's newest football darling, and he'll have to live with that for the foreseeable future

But let's not take anything away from what Alli did on Tuesday: he was fantastic, and he earned the plaudits. If anything, this is just confirmation that Alli is the real deal, and that Spurs are exceptionally fortunate to have him as an integral member of the club.

There's still room on the Dele Alli hype train, if you want to get on board. Choo-choo.