Former MK Dons manager Karl Robinson has revealed he once pinned Dele Alli against a wall out of frustration but still rates the troubled midfielder.
Alli, 26, is currently on loan at Turkish club Besiktas after struggling to make an impression at Everton. It was reported earlier this month that the England international had been banished from the first-team squad by manager Senol Gunes. It looked as though he would play no further part in proceedings having scored three goals from 15 appearances in all competitions.
There is still uncertainty over the situation but the ex-Tottenham star has stated that he was given permission to leave training to attend a doctor’s appointment.
Whether he is selected again only time will tell but it is certainly a worrying period in his career.
Having joined Spurs in the summer of 2015, the Milton Keynes-born schemer made an immediate impact. He went on to enjoy 267 outings for the north Londoners, scoring 67 goals.
England came calling and Alli has earned 37 caps to date, with three goals. But he has not represented the Three Lions since 2019.
A dip in form and perceived poor attitude saw Spurs let him leave for Everton in January 2022.
His initial move was on a free transfer, with £10m due after 20 appearances for the Toffees.
But, after 13 outings and no goals, he was loaned to the Turkish giants in August last year. Things have not gone well with the Super Lig outfit.
Gunes said back in October that Alli was ‘below expectations in terms of efficiency’. And it seems that he is now surplus to requirements at Vodafone Park.
Robinson lifts lid on enigma Alli
Much has been written about Alli. Initially, it was mostly positive, with the superstar valued well in excess of £100m while at his peak.
However his fall from grace has been spectacular. Robinson was in charge of MK Dons as the schemer made his breakthrough into senior football.
The 42-year-old praised the player’s on-pitch attributes but revealed that he has caused friction in the past.
“If you look at the data he’s one of the hardest-working, highest distance-covered players playing,” he told talkSPORT.
“I think that his persona can sometimes look flippant. He can look laboured, but he always had that.
“I remember pinning him up against the wall at times. I remember him being dragged in a dressing room once by a senior player because he had this look on his face which was a smirk – I lost it with him and a senior player lost it with him as well.”
More to Alli than meets the eye
It remains to be seen what happens with Alli as he is set to return to Everton at the end of the campaign.
It is unlikely that the Merseysiders will want him back in the ranks. That leaves the midfielder in a void and with question marks hanging over his future.
He is still young enough to turn things around. And Robinson believes that his altercation with Alli was a misunderstanding, with the player a thoroughly decent individual.
“He wasn’t smirking, it was just him,” he added. “I remember speaking to him after and he said ‘gaffer, I wasn’t trying to be rude or disrespectful’.
“When you listen to him you go, ‘Oh okay, I get you a little bit more’.
“The more you’re with him and the more time you spend with him, the more you understand him and the more he is a kind and caring human being.”