Dele Alli has dismissed suggestions he could be deployed as a striker following a goal-laden season with Tottenham, saying he does not “feel comfortable” leading the line.
Alli’s 16th Premier League goal of the season helped Spurs see off Watford 4-0 last weekend to keep their faint title hopes flickering.
The England star has been unleashed in Maurico Pochettino’s 3-4-2-1 formation this season, given licence to roam behind Harry Kane in attack.
With Kane having twice spent time on the sidelines injured this season, and Vincent Janssen struggling to find his feet in England, Alli has been suggested as a potential option up top, but he would not be keen.
“I’m definitely a midfielder,” Alli told Sky Sports. “When I start playing up top where H [Kane] plays I don’t feel comfortable.
“I grew up watching Steven Gerrard a lot and he was a number eight so I’d like to play there but when competition is like it is you play anywhere the manager wants you to. And I can’t complain, I really am happy where I’m playing.
“The formation we were playing with three at the back gave me a bit more freedom and the chance to get more goals. Sometimes I have to make runs to get in behind H and give him a bit more room to get shots off and stuff like that. But, as I say, I’m definitely a midfielder.”
Alli turned 21 this week, having made his 63rd Premier League appearance against Watford. In that time he has scored 26 goals and assisted another 14, figures which far outstrip the likes of Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes after the same amount of games.
“It’s an honour to be put next to those names but I’ve still got so much to achieve before I can even start thinking I’m as good as them,” Alli said.
“They all did so much for their clubs and their country. I think they’re unbelievable players. For me they’re legends and people I look up to massively, so I don’t get carried away with those stats.”