Tottenham Hotspur star Dele Alli has revealed that former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard was his childhood hero, telling FourFourTwo that he tried to copy the midfielder's style of play, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
The 19-year-old has been the breakout star of Spurs' season in the current campaign, scoring seven goals in 37 appearances since making his senior debut for the club on the opening day of the season.
Alli has also become a regular for Roy Hodgson's Three Lions side, scoring his first international goal in the 2-0 friendly win over France in November.
Speaking to FourFourTwo, the midfielder revealed that he modelled his combative style of play in the centre of midfield on Gerrard, and admits that he would be star-struck if he was ever to meet the former England skipper.
Alli told the magazine, as quoted by the Daily Mail: "Steven Gerrard was someone I looked up to massively. I'd always try to copy him, right down to the boots he was wearing.
"It was his attitude on the pitch that stood out – you could really see how much he hated losing. The moment that stands out is the goal against West Ham in the FA Cup final [in 2006]. It was a great moment in a huge game, and a great finish too. It's one of the first goals I remember seeing.
"I had a picture with him when I was younger, but I've never spoken to him. I think he'd probably be the only person that would make me a bit star-struck!"
It is no wonder that Alli sees Gerrard as a role model - the 35-year-old scored 186 goals in 710 competitive appearances from Liverpool in midfield, also adding 21 strikes in his 114 international caps.
Alli was only fit enough to be named as a substitute for Spurs against West Ham United at Upton Park on Wednesday night.