Dele Alli admits he considered retirement at 24
Former England midfielder Dele Alli may have a future career in coaching, with Everton boss Sean Dyche talking up his tactical input on the training ground. Alli is yet to feature this season due to a groin injury, but the 27-year-old’s observation behind the scenes has given him a chance to share ideas with the manager.
Time away from the spotlight has given Alli an opportunity to regroup after enduring a tough period in his career. The Toffees ace disappointed on loan at Besiktas last season and revealed earlier this year, during a tell-all interview with Gary Neville, that he had been to rehab for help with an addiction to sleeping pills and issues stemming from childhood trauma.
It is approaching eight months since Alli last featured in a competitive game, and no timeline has been placed on his return to the Everton matchday squad. But the former Tottenham star is, according to Dyche, using his time wisely on the training pitch.
“[The break] has allowed him the chance to focus on his football and he has been very involved in terms of absorbing,” he said.
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“He can’t get out on the grass with us yet but he is looking at it and he is absorbing what the input from myself and the staff has been. He is clear minded now. He is very willing to share, give an opinion. It’s a case of us having a coffee in the canteen.
“You’ll say, ‘Hey, Dele, how is it going? What are your thoughts?’ He’ll point out little things. ‘I thought that, I thought this’. It’s just a natural combination where we like players to share a view.
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“It’s a nice knock-on effect that you can share something with the group. He seems to me to be very secure in himself. He’s more than happy to share what he is thinking. There are amazing things he’s experienced [in his career]. People, sometimes, lose sight of that.”
While a transition into coaching may eventually be on the cards for Alli, the ex-Milton Keynes Dons wonderkid remains on the comeback trail as a player. Dyche welcoming him back into the fold may ultimately depend on negotiations with Tottenham.
Everton agreed to sign Alli on a complex free transfer agreement last January, but Spurs would be due a fee of £10million once he surpasses 20 appearances for the Toffees, whose dire financial situation leaves little room for manoeuvre.
Sporting director Kevin Thelwell has already started initial discussions with the Londoners regarding an adjusted deal which would allow Alli to restart his career on Merseyside with Dyche’s support.
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