Harry Kane and Eric Dier have dismissed suggestions Dele Alli dived against Crystal Palace after the midfielder faced renewed criticism for his conduct at Selhurst Park.
The England international, 21, went down in the area under minimal contact from Wayne Hennessey and also appealed for a penalty following a challenge by Patrick van Aanholt, who then confronted him.
He has already this season been booked when diving against Huddersfield and Liverpool, and while he was being booed by Palace supporters at Selhurst Park, Gary Lineker labelled him “Divey Alli” on social media, while Alan Shearer described the Hennessey incident a “blatant dive”.
While Tottenham secured a 1-0 victory in Sunday’s fixture and strengthened their pursuit of a top four finish, the reality for Alli is he has a growing reputation as a diver, but Dier and Kane – team-mates for club and country – remain adamant that that perception is unfair.
Mauricio Pochettino and Roy Hodgson also said the midfielder had done little wrong, and when Dier was told of Lineker’s and Shearer’s comments and asked if he felt Alli had dived, the 24-year-old responded: “No. I’m sure they probably both dived in their careers. These things happen.
“Obviously, because it’s Dele, it probably gets more attention than it deserves. It’s difficult sometimes because if you take the action in the game against Liverpool, where he got booked for diving, I was standing right behind him.
“When he’s running towards the ball, he’s taken a touch and it looks like the guy is about to come and take him out. There’s a sense of ‘I need to get out of the way’. If (the opponent) then goes and stops, it’s difficult.
“That’s the great thing about Dele: I don’t think he pays any attention to it and that’s the most important thing. All he needs to pay attention to is how his team-mates feel and how the manager sees him and how his family see him, and the rest really is irrelevant.”
Kane’s 35th goal of the season, and his 150th in club football, had also been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding his team-mate, whose three bookings for simulation since his Premier League debut in 2015 is higher than any divisional rival.
The 24-year-old striker said of Alli: “Sometimes you do get a reputation but then that’s when we’ve got to trust the refs. They can’t let that affect them, and I don’t think they do.
“They’ve got to see what they see on the day and make a decision from that. The fans might jeer or boo every time it happens but it’s down to the ref to do his job and that’s all we can count on.
“It’s hard when people watch football and they don’t really understand. Sometimes players dive but sometimes you can’t get out of the way, and I’ve said before, if someone makes a challenge why should you jump out of the way? It’s their own fault.
“When you get a reputation and when it’s happened a couple of times, the fans get on your back and things like that, but the ref’s there to make a call on the day and you’ve just got to go with what he says.”