Dele Alli is looking forward to being back in the first team setup after returning from England duty, starting with the FA Cup tie against Barnsley.
Article by Stephen Fletcher
Already making a name for himself on the national stage, Alli is looking to make an impact in the FA Cup, a competition in which he has already made a splash after a stunning strike in the first round replay against Cambridge City opened his Dons account in front of the home crowd.
The goal contributed to the emphatic 6-1 win, setting a path for the Dons’ historic run into the Fifth Round, via memorable wins over AFC Wimbledon and away wins at Championship side Sheffield Wednesday and Premier League Queens Park Rangers.
Reflecting on the big occasion, the 16-year-old said: “People say it’s the best competition in the world, and to be involved in it is just quality. Getting my first goal in the cup in front of the home fans was unbelievable.
“I look forward to the cup games; it gives a chance for the teams in the lower leagues to see what it’s like playing against bigger opposition.”
The midfield maestro is all too aware of how important the cup run has been for the Dons, making yet more history by getting this far, and says the team is buzzing at the chance to use the competition to turn around some bad league form.
“To be part of history is obviously good; the cup run has been good because we are winning. After a few bad results in the league everybody around the place is just looking forward to the game and wanting to get a win and use the cup to turn the form around.”
Having recently returned from a week with England Under-17s playing in the Algarve Tournament against the best the youth of Holland, Germany and hosts Portugal have to offer, Alli is looking to draw on his experience at that level to help make an impression on the First Team here at the Dons.
“It was good being back in the England set up. The matches were alright, I didn’t play in the first one but played the whole game after that so that helped my confidence a lot.
“The manager would talk to us as a group then have one and ones after games. After my first game in my one on one they seemed really happy with me; they said that in training they didn’t think that I stood out that much, but then after my first game I got the start again so I must have done well.
“It definitely helps me with my confidence, in training and for everything else. It feels like somebody understands you and that you’re being noticed.
“I don’t think about being from a League One side but obviously you have to prove yourself because when I first went there the first time with England, you could see that they don’t really speak to you that much, but when you show yourself you really fit in.”