Dele Alli has hit back at those to have branded him “a cheat”, with the Tottenham midfielder maintaining that he merely gets “fouled a lot”.
The 21-year-old has earned an unwelcome reputation for going to ground too easily, with referees now closely monitoring his every move.
Yellow cards have been picked up for simulation of late, leading to widespread criticism of a player considered good enough to excel without breaking the rules.
Alli, though, insists that he has done nothing wrong, with detractors making a scapegoat of someone who is often targeted for rough treatment from opponents eager to contain the threat he poses.
The England international said: “No one wants to be labelled as a cheat. They are just opinions and everyone’s is different.
“I get into the box and around the box a lot and I’m an attacking player so I get fouled a lot.
"That’s the beauty of football. It’s the beauty of football. It’s all about opinions, but the main ones that matters to me are my families and coaches.
“I’m confident in what I believe in, what they believe in and what the manager sees.”
While adamant that he never seeks to gain an advantage by hitting the deck, Alli concedes that some of his tumbles can look “bad” in real time.
He admitted: “There are some that look bad. But it’s different when you are in the action.
“The one at Crystal Palace, that’s the one I saw a lot of reaction to, I was running through and, at the time, all was going through my head was that I didn’t want to step on the keeper.
“But when you watch it back and people start saying stuff, it can look a lot different.”
Alli’s antics have been brushed aside by those around him at Tottenham, with Mauricio Pochettino a staunch supporter of a talent he considers to be among the best in the world.
The Spurs boss has said: "When you compare Dele Alli, 21 years old, with all the players in the world – not only in Europe, in the world – I think he is the best.
"In his age. In his form. Assists and everything. But, and I don't understand why, there is still that feeling [to criticise him].
"Tell me one 21-year-old that is better than him, and all that he achieves. Maybe you can find similar. But better than him? Maybe I am not objective because he is my player but, for me, he is amazing."