Dele Alli has dismissed suggestions his temper could prove costly to Tottenham or England in the future.
The midfielder has enjoyed a phenomenal debut campaign in the Premier League, becoming a key figure in Tottenham’s first-team, and is a certainty to be selected in Roy Hodgson’s squad for Euro 2016.
However, in possibly the only blot on his copybook this term, Alli’s temperament has been called into question after a number of incidents.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino admitted the 19-year-old had “a lot to learn about elite football” after Alli appeared to kick Fiorentina’s Nenad Tomovic in February, while a month earlier Alan Pardew had accused him of stamping on Crystal Palace midfielder Yohan Cabaye.
But when asked where he needed to improve, Alli – who is among Daniel Storey’s five Spurs players who would walk into Manchester United’s team – told Sky Sports: “A lot of people would say my temper. But I don’t think that’s something I need to work on.
“It’s not something I worry about, I can control my temper. It’s something I’ve always had since I was younger growing up. I’ve done a lot to work on it to keep it under control when I need to, and the boys here help me as well.
“Defensively I could be a lot better, my decision-making at times can be a bit poor and my left foot technically I need to improve as well.”
Alli is one of a number of Tottenham players who are expected to provide the core of England’s team for this summer’s tournament in France.
Striker Harry Kane is likely to lead the line, while Eric Dier – who Alli likens to a brother – shone as a holding midfielder in England’s 3-2 win over Germany last month.
“We [Alli and Dier] have got one of those friendships where I think he’ll be a friend for life. I haven’t known him for that long but he’s sort of taken up that role as my big brother here,” he added.
“It’s strange to say but he does look after me as much as he can, even though I do bully him a little bit.
“He tries to keep my feet on the ground, but he’ll always back me in anything on and off the pitch. I always go to him for advice and he’s very mature for his age, you can always turn to him and put a lot of trust in him.
“Harry is a world-class striker. If you put it through to him nine times out of 10 he’ll find the back of the net, or at least make the keeper work.
“He’s got great movement, when he’s on the training pitch you see what he’s working on and you know what kind of runs he likes to make, and his finishing is the best I’ve ever seen.”