Dele Alli defiant over aggressive nature

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The Tottenham star has refuted criticism he has received for a challenge against Fiorentina and a perceived lack of discipline.

Tottenham Hotspur star Dele Alli has issued a defiant response in the Evening Standard to those who have criticised him over a challenge he made in the Europa League draw with Fiorentina on Thursday night.

The 19-year-old was only shown a yellow card when he appeared to put his foot in on Nenad Tomovic whilst the Viola defender was on the ground after an initial challenge from the England international.

Former referee Howard Webb warned Alli that his 'ego' could ruin his reputation and ex-Spurs midfielder Jermaine Jenas said the youngster must cut that aspect out of his game after the controversial incident.

However, speaking to the Evening Standard, Alli himself has insisted the kick out on Tomovic was not intentional, but added that many of the great players in history have had an aggressive side to their game.

The former MK Dons midfielder said: "It was not deliberate, I would never do that. Football always gets a bit heated but we shook hands and that’s fine. I told him what happened, he said it was okay and we moved on. I explained it to him and we leave it behind now.

"Yes, I would say [I play better with that side of my game]. Coming from League One, a lot of tackles go in and that is where I’ve learned my trade. My personality is that I like to express myself and that is not something I will look to change.

"Do you need an aggressive streak to thrive? You could say that. A lot of the great players have that mentality. I want to be the best I can and if that’s what I need to do it, then that’s what I do."

Alli has been a huge revelation this season for Tottenham, scoring seven goals in 24 Premier League appearances in his debut season at White Hart Lane.

The teenager has also become a regular fixture in Roy Hodgson's England squad, winning four caps since his international debut in October.

Alli's superb form has been a large factor in the success of Spurs' season to date, with Mauricio Pochettino's side second in the Premier League table.

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