Dele Alli: Ex-England players’ diving criticism frustrated me

Dele Alli: Ex-England players’ diving criticism frustrated me

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli has hit back at ex-England professionals who have criticised him over simulation.

Alli has been booked for diving three times in the Premier League since his debut in 2015/16, more than any other player during that spell.

The 22-year-old came under criticism from the likes of Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer earlier in the season for what many believed to be simulation in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace when he went over after contact with goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey – though nothing was given either way.

And Alli believes the ex-pros of all people should understand what was going through his mind as he went over at Palace

When asked why he thinks people get annoyed about diving, Alli told the Evening Standard: “It’s a matter of opinion, isn’t it?

“Some people reckon it’s cheating, some people don’t. What matters is what the people around me think: my family, my friends, my team-mates, the manager…”

“[Gareth Southgate and Mauricio Pochettino] know I’m not a cheat. I wouldn’t say it gets to me. I mean, it’s more frustrating when you hear former players talk about it…

“I saw a lot of people talk about [the incident against Crystal Palace], including Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer. The midfielder kneed the ball down and the keeper came out… I stretched for it and my next step was going to land in his ribs, so I had to pull out instead of stamping on him.

“There’s moments where you only have a split second to think and you’d think they’d understand that.”

Alli was named in Southgate’s 23-man squad for the World Cup and played in both of their warm up matches, starting against Nigeria before coming off the bench to set up Danny Welbeck’s goal against Costa Rica.

Next up for England will be their group G opener against Tunisia on June 18 before the Three Lions face Panama and Belgium.

Alli’s season with Spurs

While not quite living up to the standards he had set the previous seasons, Alli was in good form for Tottenham Hotspur as they finished third in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup semi-finals.

The midfielder directly contributed to 29 goals in all competitions, scoring 14 and recording 15 assists, one of four Spurs players to be directly involved in 20+ goals last season.

Of those, nine goals and 10 assists came in the Premier League alone, with only Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane being more involved in goals for Tottenham.