COMMENT by Russell Edge
Jamie Carragher has no excuses for leaving out Tottenham’s Dele Alli in favour of Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho for his best XI of 2017.
Despite naming a trio of Spurs stars in his dream team for the Telegraph, there was no place for the 21-year-old midfielder, despite having enjoyed a brilliant year.
Central defensive duo Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen were both named at the heart of defence in Carragher’s side, with star striker Harry Kane leading the line.
However Alli was a shock exclusion from the team, despite the 21-year-old having finished last season as the top scoring midfielder in the league with 18 goals, 12 of which have come following the turn of the year.
Instead Carragher chose to name Chelsea’s N’golo Kante, Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne in a three man midfield.
The most similar to Alli in terms of his playing style, Coutinho only netted 13 league goals last season, with just eight coming in 2017.
The story does not change if cup competitions are included, with Alli having scored 22 times in total (15 in 2017) while the Reds’ star managed to add just one more goal to his total, although that itself came in 2016.
Alli even has the beating of Coutinho when it comes to assists, with 13 (nine in 2017) across all competitions, the Brazilian managing just three of his nine in the current calendar year.
Carragher cannot claim that this season has had a major effect on his decision either, with both having scored three goals and providing a further solitary assist each across all competitions.
When faced with the facts, the ex-Liverpool star’s decision is a questionable one, and one which appears inexcusable.
In other Tottenham news, Jan Vertonghen has named this Premier League star as equal to the talents of Harry Kane.