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Dele Alli returns to Tottenham XI in Antwerp

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 29 Oct 2020

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Dele Alli was recalled to the Tottenham starting line-up for the first time in more than a month as they visited Royal Antwerp on Thursday.

Jose Mourinho named the England midfielder alongside Gareth Bale in his XI for the Europa League group-stage clash in Belgium.

Alli was substituted at half-time on the opening day of the Premier League season – a 1-0 defeat to Everton – and has not started a domestic match since, appearing only off the bench in a 6-1 win at Manchester United and otherwise failing to make the matchday squad.

The 24-year-old’s only other start in 2020-21 lasted just an hour against Shkendija in Europa League qualifying on September 24, making way for Harry Kane, who later scored, with Spurs drawing 1-1. He netted against Maccabi Haifa in one of two European substitute appearances to date.

With Alli’s Tottenham future seemingly in doubt prior to the Shkendija game, Mourinho said the player would stay at the club but had to own “99 per cent of the responsibility” to improve.

Alli had two shots – one on target, one blocked – and created a single chance in North Macedonia but completed just 71 per cent of his passes, won only 16.7 per cent of his duels and failed to register a tackle, clearance or interception.

In 45 minutes against Everton, Alli had seen his only shot saved and again created one chance. His passing accuracy was 76.5 per cent and he won 50 per cent of his duels, losing his only attempt at a tackle.

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