Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho says Dele Alli has impressed him with the way he has handled being left out several times this season.
Alli has played in just two of Tottenham’s six matches this season and the England midfielder was substituted in both of those after unconvincing performances.
After playing for 60 minutes in last week’s Europa League qualifier against Shkendija, Alli was then omitted from Tottenham’s matchday squad for Sunday’s draw against Newcastle and Tuesday’s League Cup win over Chelsea.
Given Mourinho has repeatedly complained about the “crazy” fixture schedule that has stretched his squad to its limits, Alli’s lack of action shows his reduced status at present.
It is a remarkable fall from grace for a player hailed as one of Europe’s brightest young stars just three years ago.
As a result, the 24-year-old has been linked with a move away from Tottenham before the transfer window ends next week.
While Mourinho refused to confirm whether he would be involved in Thursday’s Europa League play-off against Maccabi Haifa, he has been impressed with his determined reaction to being dropped.
“I cannot confirm Dele’s playing but I cannot confirm he’s not playing,” Mourinho said.
“We have still training sessions, we have still decisions to make.
“The only thing I can say is he’s being very, very professional. I have only respect for him.
“He’s being very professional, particularly on Tuesday when the team was preparing for the game and he wasn’t.
“It would be perfectly acceptable to have a lack of motivation, even a lack of professionalism for this training session but it was exactly the opposite.
“He trained very hard. He has my respect and the respect of his team-mates so it’s possible he plays.”
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