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Dele Alli, a midfielder, was born to Nigerian parents in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom on 11 April 1996. He joined the youth setup of the English League One club, Milton Keynes (MK) Dons at the age of eleven. He made his first team debut for the club at the age of sixteen on November 2 2012 against Cambridge United in an FA Cup tie. He scored his first goal for the club in the replay against the same team. He became a first-team regular for the club in the 2013/2014 season and became the first choice midfielder for the club following departure of Stephen Glesson to Birmingham City in the summer of 2014. Alli became a household name when he marshalled and controlled the midfield in 4-0 home trashing of Manchester United on 26th August 2014 in the League Cup. His performance earned him plaudits from every pundit in the game and led to comparison with Steven Gerrard. His rich vein of form has seen him score 12 goals for MK Dons in 28 appearances this season, which made several English Premier League clubs enquire about his availability. It was reported that numerous scouts from top clubs across Europe attended the Manchester United game to watch him play, including representatives from Bayern Munich and Liverpool. Alli finally signed for Tottenham Hotspur, beating off competition from Newcastle United and Aston Villa, on 2 February 2015 on a five-and-a-half-year deal for an initial fee of £5m but was loaned back to MK Dons for the remainder of the 2014–15 season. At International level, the 18-year-old has 15 caps at youth level for England but is yet to make a senior appearance and could still decide to switch allegiance to Nigeria. Former Wimbledon and England player, John Fashanu has vowed to persuade Alli to play for Nigeria. Fashanu had a similar decision to make during his own career and opted for line up for England in the 80s. According to, Fashanu said, “I will be speaking to some people at MK Dons to help patch me through to Alli. “We can’t afford to lose such a talented kid to England, it’s better we put up a fight than to let him go, I will do my best to persuade him to switch allegiance. “I sincerely believe in years to come he will be a top prospect and Nigeria, from what I will tell him, will be his best bet at being a global international star.” Fashanu faces an uphill task in convincing the much coveted youngster, who has been rumoured to be in line to earn his senior England cap this year, to play for Nigeria.   About the Writer: Arinze Ude (@arturozinga) is an aspiring cancer research scientist with a master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences (Haematology). He is keen on building partnerships and managing the careers of Nigerian sportsmen and women. He blogs at

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This article was first published on 16th February 2015


Arinze Ude is a PhD Student at the University of the West of England Bristol, UK, where he's exploring on the mechanisms of donor cell leukaemia. He shares his deep thoughts on his blog and the Naked Convos. He is keen to promote personal development of the Nigerian youth via thought-provoking articles.

Comments (1)

One thought on “Nigeria Has Another Football Gem in Dele Alli”

  • Fash had a choice and opted for England. He should stop running his mouth. The boy chose to play for a country he could relate to in England. Time will tell if he made the right decision. The Nigerian FA could have been in touch ages ago. Usual fireman slow approach!

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