Darren Bent has insisted that Tottenham need to find a way to get the best out of superstar Dele Alli this season after saying he has been off the boil “for a couple of years”.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Spurs and England hitman says that the last time fans saw the best of the 23-year-old was back in 2017, when he won the PFA’s Young Player of the Year award.
Alli picked up the honour for two consecutive seasons between 2015 and 2017, establishing himself as a goal-scoring midfielder with creative flair for both club and country and linked with a £100million-plus transfer to Real Madrid.
However, Bent insists that the former MK Dons starlet has not shown his true potential over the last number of seasons, injury curtailing his recent campaigns, and that he has got a lot to live up to over the coming months.
Asked if the midfielder had a point to prove this season, Bent told Football Insider: “He does to be fair and let’s be honest, I haven’t seen Dele Alli play like Dele Alli for a long time.
“Before he got injured, he wasn’t playing like we know he can play. We know Dele Alli, when he gets on the ball he can make things happen. One of the most creative players, one of the best creative players in the middle for England and Spurs.
“For a couple of years now, the last time he played to the level we know he’s capable of was probably when he won the Young PFA Player of the Year award. Since then he’s shown bits and bobs but he’s not been consistent.
“If Spurs want to achieve anything, they need to get him back to his best.”
Alli has 186 appearances under his belt for Spurs since joining as a teenager from MK Dons, although only two of those have come since the summer.
He featured in 38 games across all competitions last season, scoring seven goals and chipping in with eight assists, with a hamstring injury and a thigh muscle problem leaving him on the sidelines at various points of the campaign.