Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli says he has set himself targets in terms of goals and assists as he looks to cement his place in the Spurs team, and the national set up as England build towards next summers’ European Championships.
His team are linked with reinforcements in Alli’s preferred position as they are rumoured to be pursuing Giovani Lo Celso of Real Betis. Meanwhile Gareth Southgate has an embarrassment of riches in attacking midfield.
The 23-year-old had seven goals and eight assists in 38 club games last year, but has taken the unprecedented step, for him at least, of having a number of goal involvements in mind as the dawn of the new season is on the horizon.
“I’m not one for setting targets for goals and assists but I want to bring them back into my game,” he told the press. “So of course, I’ve set myself a little target.
“I want to perform in every game, not just the big games. I feel good. I haven’t had any problems during pre-season. I’m feeling strong, I’m feeling fit. So, yes, I’m excited.”
Alli believes pressure on his place is part and parcel of being a big-name player at an elite club.
He thinks no player can be safe in those circumstances and welcomes the competition on the training ground and on the pitch.
“As top players we want to be challenging ourselves,” the ex-MK Dons man added. “We don’t want to stay still or think this is as good as we are going to get. We want to keep pushing on and having top competition.
“There are top players here and the players that are not in the starting 11 are training hard and working hard every day. Everyone is fighting to keep their places.”
He thinks that the need for constant improvement doesn’t just apply to individuals but the team as well.
Spurs reached the Champions League final last year, but Alli knows the team must strive to be better.
“Last year the Champions League was a big achievement for us,” he continued. “We were disappointed we didn’t go all the way and win it but we are going to have to channel that hurt we felt in that game and keep improving.
“We are not the finished article. We know that. We’ve got things to improve on.”