By Noel Whelan

21st Feb, 2021 | 8:00am

Whelan verdict on Dele Alli starting for Tottenham v West Ham after 'Strange' twist

Dele Alli has “not shown enough fight” to force his way back into the Tottenham starting XI versus West Ham despite a decent display against Wolfsberger.

That is the view of former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 24-year-old still had a long way to go to rebuild his “fractious” relationship with Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese boss handed the attacking midfielder a rare start on Thursday night and gave him 78 minutes before bringing on Tanguy Ndombele in his place.

Thursday was only Alli’s seventh start across all competitions in a season fraught with frustration for both player and manager.

Tottenham’s return to league action on Sunday with a visit to London rivals West Ham.

Whelan suggested while the England international had taken the opportunity to impress against the Austrian outfit on Thursday, he still has a lot to do before re-establishing himself as a first-team regular.

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Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “I think the chance was there, I think these fringe players on these European nights, this is their opportunity. I think Dele Alli, it was a decent performance from him.

“I still think there’s more there, I really do, but it’s a very strange situation, we didn’t expect him to be there past this last transfer window, we thought he’d going to be going out there.

“We knowhi that there’s some kind of fractious friendship between Jose and Dele Alli but the manager has given him that chance.

“I doubt he’d be starting in the Premier League, I don’t think that’s going to happen. He’s a player that’s not done enough all season, not shown enough fight, to be rewarded with the Premier League starts.”

Alli has featured in just five Premier League games for Mourinho this season, with his only league start having come on the opening day of the campaign.

In other news, a former manager claims Gareth Bale’s “legs have gone” at Tottenham after strange agent claim.