Former Tottenham and Fulham midfielder Jamie O’Hara reckons the negative comments Dele Alli is currently receiving are ‘harsh’ and has urged his critics to ‘leave him alone’.
The 23-year-old, who has scored just once since January, has come under scrutiny for his performance in Spurs’ 2-1 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday – most notably from ex-Manchester United pair Gary Neville, who covered the game for Sky Sports and admitted that Alli needs to ‘sort himself out’ and quickly after a poor 12 months.
But O’Hara, who played 32 times for Tottenham in the Premier League, thought that Alli had a good game against the league leaders and is confident that he will find his best form once he returns to full fitness after a host of hamstring injuries since the 2018 World Cup.
“I don’t think it’s a lack of work rate,” O’Hara said speaking on Sky Sports’ The Debate show on Monday evening.
“There has been questions marks over his desire. I think that’s there. I thought he actually played quite well. He dropped into midfield and that’s when he dropped out of the game.
“The biggest thing Poch said for me there is ‘he’s a kid’. He’s 23-years-old. It’s very easy for everyone here to build him up and knock him down.
“He’s getting a pounding right now. I just think, leave the kid alone, let him get back to full fitness and playing without the limelight on him.
“Everyone questioning him on the field and off the field. Everything about his game is under scrutiny right now. Let him find his form and feet again. I think it’s been a little bit harsh. I have criticised him. We either keep hammering him and he falls away or we put our arm around him and build him up because he can still be a big player for England.”