Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli admits that praise from Steven Gerrard and Alex Ferguson has come as a shock in a “crazy” season.
The 19-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable first season in the Premier League, helping to inspire Spurs to an unlikely title push and cementing his place in Roy Hodgson’s senior England side.
Former Manchester United boss Ferguson compared Alli to Paul Gascoigne earlier this season, while ex-Liverpool and England captain Gerrard claimed the MK Dons product is better than he was at the same age.
“It’s a hard one to take in, for one of the greatest managers ever to compliment you like that, it means a lot and it’s a huge honour,” Alli said to Sky Sports.
He added of Gerrard’s comments: “It makes your hair stand up, you can’t really believe it. He’s someone I’ve looked up to massively since growing up, he was a great player and a legend. He was my idol and for him to say something like that means a lot to me.
“But I don’t want to get carried away with things like that, it’s important I keep working hard and don’t think too much about those things.
“It has been crazy, it’s been crazy for me obviously. I’ve always been quite confident in my ability and I knew where I wanted to go.
“Maybe I didn’t expect it to go this well so quickly but I always had the feeling I’d keep working hard and try to be the best player I can.
“It’s a bit of a dream come true, it’s one of those ones where I’m still waiting to be woken up, but like I say anything
can happen. you could go out there and, God forbid, get an injury on the pitch or in training.”
Alli drew plenty of praise for his performance in England’s 3-2 friendly win over Germany last month, but he does not consider his place at Euro 2016 to be guaranteed.
“I’d love to go [to Euro 2016], it would be a dream come true but I don’t think my place is concrete. There’s a lot of young, hungry players there. It has the same feeling as at Spurs,” he said.