Dele Alli is hoping to improve on his tally of 15 goals and assists from last season, but says there is a lot more to his game than finding the net.
Alli announced himself at Tottenham as a goal threat from midfield, registering 35 goal contributions in his second season - his best campaign to date in that regard.
Last year, the numbers dropped and he drew criticism from some quarters where he was seen to be underperforming. But, awaiting his fifth season as a Premier League player, Alli is now a more rounded midfielder and he wants to be judged on his overall contribution to the team.
“Obviously because of my first two seasons and the amount of goals and assists I managed to get, people expect that to be my game,” he told the club’s website.
“But as a midfielder, I don’t think that’s just what it’s all about. We have defensive work as well, making space for other players and getting goals and assists as well. That’s what I judge my game on.
“I do more for the team defensively. Maybe not getting as many goals and assists, but that’s not important to me. I make sure I help the team and try to keep my place in the starting eleven. I’m learning every year as a player and I feel more complete.”
Still only 23, Alli will be thinking of himself as a senior member of the Spurs squad as Mauricio Pochettino looks to take his side to the next level.
He could head past 150 appearances and 50 goals in the Premier League this campaign, and now has the experience of a Champions League final under his belt as well as last year’s World Cup semi.
While he shoulders more responsibility on the pitch than at the beginning of his Spurs career, he doesn’t think he is too different off it.
“As a person, I haven’t changed,” he said. “I’ve always been the same. I think I’m a more established player now, people know who I am a lot more but as a person, I’m as hungry as I always was when I first came here.
“I still want to achieve a lot more and that won’t stop. Every year I’ve learned so much with the players I’m playing with and the coaching staff.
“I feel like I’m in a great place to continue learning. I’m still young and excited to keep learning and improving as a player. It would be nice to get a few more goals and assists this season but that’s not what my whole game is based on.”