Alli was hauled off at half-time after struggling to impact the game from central midfield as a Saka-inspired first-half blitz helped Arsenal run out 3-1 winners over Tottenham
Alli was hauled off at half-time after struggling to impact the game from central midfield as a Saka-inspired first-half blitz helped the Gunners run out 3-1 winners over their north London rivals on Sunday.
The 25-year-old was overshadowed by Saka, who sparkled once again, setting up fellow academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe for Arsenal’s opener before getting himself on the scoresheet after bursting through a Harry Kane challenge to put the Gunners 3-0 ahead midway through the first half.
Alli, who was once tipped to become one of England’s greatest ever midfielders, has found himself out of favour for club and country over the past two seasons while Saka has emerged as one of England’s brightest prospects, starring in this summer’s Euro 2020 campaign.
But former Manchester United defender Neville has called for the 20-year-old Arsenal man to knuckle down to ensure he doesn’t allow his career to falter and fail to fulfil his potential as Alli has.
“If they want a warning sign, they should look at Dele Alli,” he told Sky Sports.
“I had him with England and I would’ve said that he would’ve become one of the top midfield players that this country has ever produced. He had everything, 6ft 2, could score goals, could tackle, could head.
“And now look at him on the football pitch, he’s the shadow of the player he was. Last year I said he needs a wake up call, but now he needs to sort himself out and quickly.”
Speaking after the victory against Spurs, Saka’s Arsenal teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hailed both the 20-year-old and Smith Rowe, adding that he believes there is still more to come from them.
“Arsenal can be proud of these boys and my kids will go to Hale End [the academy] and they will end up like him [Smith Rowe],” he said.
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“When you have boys like this, they listen and learn, the most important is that they feel free to play, that’s why they are doing amazing.”
A third successive league defeat at the hands of their bitter rivals has left Tottenham level with the Gunners in the table on nine points apiece after six games played.
Spurs will be hoping to bounce back as they welcome NS Mura of Slovenia to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Europa Conference League on Thursday before attention turns back to the Premier League, where Nuno Espirito Santo’s men will be aiming to stop the rot when Aston Villa visit on Sunday.
In contrast, the Gunners will be hoping to continue their momentum when they travel to the south coast to play high-flying Brighton next Saturday.