REUTERS – For someone who had set himself relatively modest targets for the season, Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli said he has been left “speechless” after being called up to play for England.
It has been a meteoric rise for the 19-year-old, who was playing for Milton Keynes Dons in the third tier of English football last season.
The box-to-box midfielder managed one goal in nine appearances for Tottenham but the strong impact he has had on Spurs’ performances has earned him a call-up for England’s final two Euro 2016 qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania this month.
“I was speechless!,” Alli, whose England selection was also helped by injuries to midfielders Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson and Fabian Delph, told the club website (www.tottenhamhotspur.com).
“It’s been a really good start to the season for me, I maybe didn’t expect it to go this well.
“At the start of the season I set myself a target to try to become a regular in the Under-21s and try to get a few starts in the Premier League,” he said after Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Monaco in the Europa League.
Alli was disappointed with the Spurs conceding a late equaliser in the match and has urged his side to be more clinical in front of goal.
“It feels like a defeat. It was a strong first half and maybe we should have seen the game out, finished a few more chances, but it wasn’t to be,” he said.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was happy with the team’s performance and said they deserved to win.
“The feeling is that we lost two points. I’m disappointed but at the same time, I’m happy with the performance and the effort, that was brilliant,” Pochettino said.
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)