Dele Alli’s magical goal against Crystal Palace at the weekend brought with it memories of Paul Gascoigne’s strike against Scotland at Euro ’96 and the comparisons between the two players that followed were perhaps inevitable. After all, both have strong associations with Tottenham Hotspur and both hit the public consciousness as precocious young talents exuding levels of confidence that belie their years.
Taking the comparison even further, there have been a number of calls this week for Alli to be fast-tracked into England’s midfield in time for this summer’s European Championships. The hope, no doubt, is that the ex-MK Dons player will have the same impact on the tournament that Gazza enjoyed in the 1990 World Cup Finals.
But does Alli have what it takes to follow the prodigiously talented Geordie into the realms of superstardom? The impression Saturday’s wonder goal had on the Brandtix Sports Index, which provides real-time insights into athletes’ sporting performances and social media appeal, suggests he has.
On the pitch, Alli’s sixth goal of the season was his tenth direct contribution to a Spurs goal in his debut Premier League campaign. A remarkable personal feat, it was also vitally important for a club with aspirations of winning its first title since 1961.
On social media, the exceptional strike had a similarly seismic effect. There were a whopping 28k people talking about Alli on the day of the Palace match, with an impressive positive sentiment score reflecting the admiration shown for his goal throughout the footballing world. His Instagram account alone attracted 23k new fans during the week, while his total fan base across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram now exceeds 300k.
But this is merely the latest milestone in a career that has exploded since the start of the season and Alli’s overall Brandtix Index Score of 420, which places him just outside the top 50 Barclays Premier League players and below only four of his, more established, Spurs teammates (Kane, Eriksen, Dembele and Vertonghen) reflects his amazing rise.
There’s no doubt that Dele Alli’s social stats will be as welcome to his agents and sponsors, adidas, as his on-field ones will be to Tottenham’s representatives and fans. The question is, with a major international tournament on the horizon, will Roy Hodgson be as much of a fan of Dele Alli as the late, great Bobby Robson was of Paul Gascoigne? One thing is for sure, this talented nineteen-year-old certainly is ‘lighting up’ the Premier League.
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