Spurs midfielder described it as a huge honour to land the award again
TOTTENHAM midfielder Dele Alli won the Professional Footballers’ Association young player of the year prize for the second season in a row.
The 21-year-old England star has again been in scintillating form for the north London club this season as they challenge Chelsea for the Premier League title.
He won the vote of his peers ahead of Spurs team-mate Harry Kane, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Burnley defender Michael Keane, Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Manchester City winger Leroy Sane.
Alli said: “I’m extremely proud. It’s a great honour for me – obviously the second year in a row – but I’ve still got a lot to do, I’ve got to keep working hard. I’ve got to keep improving.
“The big thing for me, after last season, is I wanted to put my chances away more. I got a lot of chances last season that I wasn’t putting away. I wasn’t as clinical.
“I’ve still got to improve on that, still had a few chances that I’ve missed, so I’ll keep working on that. But there’s a lot of little bits that need improving.”
Asked for the highlight of his season, Alli explained: “There have been a lot. The main one’s probably Chelsea at home, when we won 2-0, just because there was a lot that went into that game.
“When you feel the way the fans are and the way the players are building into the game, to not only win the game but to score two goals as well was massive.”
On Pochettino’s contribution to his development, Alli said: “He’s an unbelievable manager – and person as well.
“He doesn’t just focus on what’s happening on the pitch, he works on off the pitch as well to make sure each player’s got the right attitude, are there for the right reasons, and they want to fight for the club.
“I think you can see that with every player. We all want to fight for each other and for the manager as well.”
Alli could consider himself unlucky not to be shortlisted for the senior award too, and Tottenham boss Pochettino said earlier this month: ”I think he deserves (to be nominated) because he’s showing great performances every week and in every game.
”He’s improved a lot from last season. I think he’s a better player, he’s showing better stats and in my opinion yes, he deserves it.
”After his first season in the Premier League always the people want to see again in the second season if he can confirm all that he showed last season.
”Not only did he confirm that, he’s improved in all aspects of his game. That means he’s clever, intelligent, still with potential to improve and learn and today he’s showing that he’s one of the best players in the Premier League.”
Alli has scored 16 Premier League goals, which heading into the weekend meant he was the top scorer in the division who is not recognised as a forward.
His success continues an incredible run for Spurs in this category. They have now won the men’s young player award in five of the last six seasons – Kyle Walker in 2012, Gareth Bale in 2013, Kane in 2015 and Alli in 2016. Only Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (2014) has interrupted Spurs’ winning streak.