20-year old England and Spurs midfielder Dele Alli is definitely not one to shy away from the ball, constantly amazing fans in his breakout season for Tottenham. It seems he was destined for greatness from the moment he stepped out on to the pitch, his first ever touch as a professional football was a backheel! Alli talks to FourFourTwo about how he was encouraged to express himself from an early age.
Showcase your skills
Do what comes naturally to you
"Dan Micciche was my manager as I came up through the MK Dons Academy system and he was big on me expressing myself as much as possible. He wanted me to go out there and enjoy myself, and this helped me relax. Dan played a huge role in my development, as did [MK Dons manager] Karl Robinson, who gave me my debut. He didn't try to change me for first-team football; he wanted me to play my own game."
Demand the ball
Be brave in possession
"You can't go out onto the pitch and hide. You need to get on the ball and enjoy it. If you don't have it, you want to be looking for it and helping your team as much as you can. To do this, you must be confident and believe in your ability. I don't think about the pressure to make something happen. I believe in my ability. So when things aren't going my way, I just keep going, keep asking for the ball, and keep trying things."
Be ready to adapt during a game
"There are different set-piece routines and tactical plans to remember when you're out on the pitch. You need to be able to adapt to different situations. At Spurs we spend the week preparing for each match tactically so it's ingrained in our heads. Two days before a game we'll work on set-pieces, and then we'll watch the opposition. We're prepared. But when I'm on the ball I don't have anything planned - it's all natural."
Dele Alli wears Adidas ACE16.1