Martin Keown believes Dele Alli needs to be strong mentally every day to prove ‘bully’ Jose Mourinho wrong in the future.
Alli has been largely frozen out at Tottenham by Mourinho and rumours a possible exit continue to persist.
Dele Alli has made just five starts in all competitions this seasonGetty Images – Getty
The 24-year-old has played just 75 minutes in the Premier League this season, with no goals or assists to show for his efforts.
Alli was an integral member of Mauricio Pochettino’s squad – and could reunite with his former boss this month.
Former Arsenal defender Keown said the midfielder needs to have that strong mentality to get through this tough period.
He told talkSPORT: “Dele Alli is in a very difficult situation, but every day he comes in he has to be strong mentally and has to show Mourinho that ‘I’m going to be able to get through this and when I get through this I’m going to be stronger for it’.
“There will be one day, whether it is at this club or somewhere else, where ‘I’ll prove to you that you were wrong and I’m going to love every minute of it proving you wrong’.
Jose Mourinho has not been a fan of Alli while in charge of SpursAFP
“That’s what he has to do but he’s on an island. He has to sit on that island and be self-supportive.
‘It isn’t easy when you are getting dragged off when you think you’ve made the difference in a game, you are getting blamed for everything and Mourinho wants to do that.
“It is bullying but it shows the rest of the group that if you step out of line look how big Dele Alli was and I’ve cut him down. It will be the same for you.”
It wouldn’t be the first time that Mourinho has made an example out of a player, something Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink said happened to him at Chelsea.
Keown also thinks that the reason for Alli’s lack of game time is that he doesn’t fit into Mourinho’s tactics, but doesn’t believe a move away will happen in January.
The midfielder had been linked with a possible reunion with Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain.
Alli has been rumoured with a possible link up with former Spurs boss PochettinoAFP or licensors
Keown said: “[Tanguy] Ndombele plays in a role but you can’t believe the amount of work that Ndombele does out of possession and I think that’s a problem for Dele Alli.
“Mourinho thinks he can’t do that job. Yes, when he has the ball that’s a different matter and he can be equally as good as Ndombele.
“He’s underrated Ndombele with what he does. He sits on the deep-lying midfielder player of the opposition, he stops them running and the amount of work he gets through is integral to Mourinho’s tactics that he likes to employ.
“He (Alli) doesn’t suit the tactics of Mourinho. Eventually it will come to pass at the end of the season.
“He doesn’t want to make anyone else better does Mourinho. He will keep the group until the end of the season and then will have an opportunity to sell him for big money and bring someone in who he thinks will do a better job.”
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