Dele Alli has been frozen out of the Tottenham squad by boss Nuno Espirito Santo, with the midfielder left on the bench for three successive Premier League matches
Having started the season as one of Nuno’s first choices in central midfield, Dele has gradually seen his playing time limited over the course of recent weeks.
He was hauled off at half-time in that humiliation at the hands of the Gunners, who had gone three goals up before the break.
Dele was handed a start in the Europa Conference League trip to Vitesse Arnhem, but failed to impress as the Dutch side claimed a 1-0 win.
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His performance at the GelreDome appears to have left Nuno unhappy, wit the Portuguese boss deciding to leave him out of the squad that will face Burnley on Wednesday night.
Nuno has described the Carabao Cup last 16 match as a “final”, with the decision to leave a fully fit Dele out of the squad completely hinting that the end is coming on his Spurs career.
The midfielder had shown promise in a deeper role in the Tottenham side, but it seems that Nuno has run out of patience with the 25-year-old.
Nuno hinted after the trip to the Netherlands that Dele’s performance left much to be desired, but backed him to rediscover his form.
“Dele started very well in the competition and now he is not in his best moment so it is up to us to get him back in the best moment he can,” the Spurs boss said.
Remarkably, Nuno’s predecessor at Spurs Mourinho made exactly the same decision a year and a day ago.
On that occasion, Mourinho was readying his side for a trip to Turf Moor in the Premier League and opted to leave Dele out of the squad for the game.
Similarly, he had featured in a Europa League clash with LASK in the week preceding the game against Burnley.
By that stage he had not started a league match under Mourinho for more than a month, when he was also substituted off at half-time.
Dele clearly has the talent to perform at the top level, having scored 36 goals across two seasons between 2016 and 2018.
Former Tottenham boss Glenn Hoddle certainly believes that Nuno has made a mistake by copying Mourinho, insisting that Dele is a player to build the Spurs team around.
“As a manager, he should be one of your team’s major assets. When Dele gets into the box, he is a wonderful player,” he told The Sun.
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“You would want him in any team because goalscoring midfielders are hard to come by. I don’t see him as someone who plays deep who you build your patterns of play through.
“He is the one who finishes your jigsaw, not starts it, by scoring goals. He came back this summer with a really good attitude. He clearly wants to put it right. And that’s half the battle.”
Despite Hoddle’s intervention, it appears that Nuno is ready to commit the same mistake as Mourinho by freezing out the midfielder.