The England star MK youngsters can look up to

Dele Alli
Dele Alli

With the Three Lions displayed proudly on his chest, Dele Alli jogged calmly on to the Wembley turf, probably blissfully unaware of the significance his brief cameo really meant to his home town.

By now, anyone with a penchant for football will know his name, know who he plays for and the potential he possesses to become one of the best English footballers of his generation.

Dele Alli

Dele Alli

Spotted playing in Milton Keynes, the local lad, still only 19 years old, went from ball boy to the main man at Dons in a matter of a few short years.

Now, after earning a big money move to Tottenham Hotspur, he wasted little time in barging his way into Mauricio Pochettino’s plans, and indeed his first team.

After a brilliant debut for England U21s, Roy Hodgson wasted no time in drafting Alli in for the final two European Championship qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania to cover for injuries.

Criticised for being fast-tracked, for not being ready, for being too young, Alli managed to silence the doubters as he took to international football with the same swagger in which he took to life in the Premier League.

Dele Alli

Dele Alli

But while he doesn’t ply his trade here any more, his former manager Karl Robinson believes his actions at Wembley and in Vilnius will have huge repercussions back in the town he calls home.

“It gives young kids in Milton Keynes a local hero, a role model, a local boy to look up to with the right desire and talent,” said Robinson. “Dele has so many great components. We’ve craved that here for so long. We have a lot of great role models coming through now. It gives people hope.

“Having the club and the stadium here, it gives them hope that if you’re good enough, you’ll find a way through.

“Then it’s all down to you to go as far as Dele has.

“For himself and his family, he should be proud.”

On a more political front – football politics anyway – Alli’s inclusion is something of a vindication for chairman Pete Winkelman too.

Vilified for moving the club from SW17 to MK1, taking a lad from the area, cultivating him, releasing him and providing him as a new star for the country to behold, Winkelman’s ideal of giving boys in Milton Keynes the chance to play for their local club is showing its first real sign of bearing fruit.

Robinson added: “When you look at the players we’re producing, we’ve produced two of the best young players in the country in Dele Alli and Brendan Galloway (Everton).

“We want to breed our own players here. We take tremendous pride in producing these players.

“He’s put MK on the map, and it answers the questions around the controversy over the move to Milton Keynes.

“We’re giving the boys in Milton Keynes a chance to play football.

Everything the chairman said is coming true.”