Can anyone stop the teenage sensation?

Dele Alli
Dele Alli

“He’s going to be tall, he scores, he wins tackles. What more do you want?” asked Karl Robinson after wonder kid Dele Alli bagged his first professional hat-trick on Tuesday night.

The 17-year-old scored all three in Dons’ 3-1 victory over Notts County at Meadow Lane, single-handedly hauling Dons back into the play-off hunt.

“He’s unique,” cooed his manager afterwards. “I know what young players possess, and I’ve worked with some of the best players in the world in the Premier League.

“When you put his age, performances and now his goals into account, what can’t he do?

“The stats speak for themselves. He’s 17 and scores a hat-trick. His smile is from ear to ear.

“You forget how young he is. His maturity is astounding.

“To speak to the press at 17 - Stephen Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen all did that.

“He will be up there with them.”

His manager has backed Alli to become the greatest player ever to pull on an MK Dons shirt, despite doing so just 35 times in his career.

But the boy, sorry, man himself doesn’t let any of the hype which surrounds him go to his head.

“I’ve got family who keep my feet on the ground,” said Alli at Meadow Lane. “And the players here help me do that too.

“I’m not letting it go to my head, I’m just playing as well as I can, training hard and hopefully that’ll get me as far as I can.

“Thankfully, the manager has faith in young players and he isn’t afraid to throw you in at the deep end.

“If you’re good enough, you’re old enough and that’s what you need when you’re young.”

County had already hit the crossbar by the time the 17-year-old proved his worth after just two minutes as he capitalised on a loose ball in the area to fire Dons into an early lead.

On a badly bobbling pitch, the slow pace of ball was making life hard for the players, who often found themselves half a step ahead of the play, making for a sloppy affair.

Neither defence looked quite on top of their game either, with chances squandered at both ends.

While Nathan Tyson and Jamal Campbell-Ryce forced David Martin into earning how money with a couple of low stops, Dons should have been high and dry by the break.

Izale McLeod forced Batosz Bialkowski into a top stop from range, but should have done much better when he darted through one-on-one with the County keeper, but telegraphed his strike.

Daniel Powell too, who looked back to his old self for the first time in a long time, was guilty of wasting a good opportunity - Bialkowski again doing well against the one-on-one.

Powell redeemed himself eight minutes in to the second half though as he turned provider for Alli. Once again leaving the sluggish County defence for dust, the pair pulled Bialkowski off his line, before Alli had the simple task of finishing into the empty net.

The home side benefitted from some questionable refereeing with 20 minutes remaining as a penalty was awarded against Jordan Spence for handball. Alan Sheehan halved the deficit, breathing new life into the home crowd.

But deep in to stoppage time, Bialkowski came up for a corner, but had to burst 100 yards back to his line, only for the man of the match to bend the ball around him into the far corner, sealing the hat-trick, the victory, and his name in Dons folklore.