Dele Alli welcomes competition from Rooney for No.10 role

Date published: Friday 2nd September 2016 9:23

Dele Alli: Warned

Dele Alli: Willing to play anywhere for Allardyce

Dele Alli insists he will happily play anywhere for England as he faces a fight with captain Wayne Rooney to start in his preferred position.

The Tottenham man was named PFA Young Player of the Year last season after shining for Spurs in the number 10 role just off the striker.

That position is where Rooney has started this campaign for Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United having been deployed much deeper in midfield by both club boss Louis van Gaal and former England manager Roy Hodgson last year.

But new Three Lions coach Sam Allardyce looks set to follow Mourinho’s lead and play his skipper further forward, with Alli the man likely to have to drop back.

The 20-year-old has no problem with that as he looks to add to his 12 caps in Allardyce’s first game in charge – Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Slovakia in Trnava.

“Everyone likes a bit of competition,” he said.

“I’m going to keep working hard and I will be happy to play anywhere for the country. I’m young and would like to play anywhere. If the manager chooses Wayne to play in the number 10 role then that’s not my decision to make.

“I will take it and keep working hard. I’m not really bothered where he puts me, I’m just happy to be out there to help my country.”

Dele Alli England

Alli enjoyed a superb breakthrough season at White Hart Lane having joined from MK Dons and played a big role in their ultimately unsuccessful Premier League title bid.

He also made his England debut as he went from playing in Sky Bet League One to the European Championships, where England under-performed and were knocked out by Iceland at the round of 16 stage.

Alli is under no illusion that he still has room for improvement in his game, especially with his discipline which let him down on more than one occasion last season and saw him miss the final three games of the campaign after punching West Brom’s Claudio Yacob in the stomach.

“I have made a few mistakes with my temper, I know. But I have learned from that,” he said.

“The manager has spoken to me and after what happened to me last year having to miss the last three games, I realise I can’t do those kind of things and need to keep them under control.

“I wouldn’t say I’m the finished article, I still have a lot to learn and can keep improving. There are still a few more things I can work on in the short-term and definitely in the long term. I’m just going to keep working hard on and off the training field.”

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