Former England boss Steve McClaren says Dele Alli is a player who “looks for legs to fall over” in the penalty area.
Alli won a penalty late on in the 2-2 draw with Rochdale in the FA Cup yesterday after he was fouled in the box by Harrison McGahey.
It looked a fraction theatrical from Alli, but there was no doubt there was significant contact in the penalty area and TV host Gary Lineker tweeted that pundits Alan Shearer and Jermaine Jenas had told him they thought Alli had been fouled.
Lineker tweeted: “The question was asked by me, ‘Dele Alli has a reputation for diving, do you think he dived on this occasion?’ @jjenas8 and @alanshearer both thought it was a blatant foul and a penalty, not a dive. And for what it’s worth, I agree.”
The question was asked by me, “Dele Alli has a reputation for diving, do you think he dived on this occasion?” @jjenas8 and @alanshearer both thought it was a blatant foul and a penalty, not a dive. And for what it’s worth, I agree. https://t.co/bVA7hVj2yJ
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) February 18, 2018
And Rochdale manager Keith Hill defended the right of Alli to win the penalty that almost shattered the hosts’ hopes.
Hill even admitted that if Alli won a penalty for England at the World Cup in similar circumstances he would cheer the midfielder.
“I have not seen it again but I’m led to believe he is looking for it (but) we get too involved in controversy,” said Hill.
“If a centre-forward or midfield player feels as though there is a penalty opportunity to be gained…brilliant – whether it is Dele Alli, Steve Davies, Ian Henderson, Andy Cannon it doesn’t really matter
“I won’t hold it against him and if he does it for England in the summer and we win the World Cup I will certainly be supporting him.”
Speaking on Monday morning, former Derby, Newcastle and Boro boss McClaren claimed Alli is a player whose aim if to win penalties.
McClaren told Sky Sports News: “Dele Alli is a runner into the box and when you make runs into the box and make diagonal runs, like he did for the penalty, he’ll always be in danger.
“He will be looking for legs to fall over, to trip over, and the speed that he goes at carrying the ball or running onto the ball you are always susceptible to getting a little clip or being knocked off balance. And when players do that they go down.
“Sometimes people call it simulation, sometimes it’s natural because you are going at that speed. And you do, what we call ‘buy a penalty’. Sometimes players are too honest and stay on their feet, but if you do get bumped in the box and you go down then there is a good chance you will get a penalty. Dele Alli has proved that.”
No player in the Premier League has been booked more times than Alli for simulation since 2015/16, with the England man cautioned three times.