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Spurs’ Dele Alli admits playing football saved him from life on the streets


Steve Nicol feels Mauricio Pochettino may be changing his tune following Spurs’ lack of transfer activity.

Tottenham star Dele Alli has told British GQ that playing football saved him from a childhood on the streets.

Alli had a difficult upbringing in Milton Keynes and he left home at 13 to live full time with the family of friend Harry Hickford — before the pair both turned professional at local club MK Dons.

Twenty-one-year-old Alli has flourished since moving to White Hart Lane for £5 million in summer 2015, scoring 18 goals last season on the way to a second consecutive PFA Player of the Year award.

But the England international admits he fell in the wrong crowd as a youngster and says his life could have been very different.

“I got into trouble a few times when I was younger,” Alli said. “I hung around with the wrong people when I was real young. With the older boys, I tried to do what they did. We weren’t in a very good area.

“[Football] gave me the opportunity to actually put my energy into something else than hanging out on the street at 12 years old until 2 a.m.”

Reflecting on his goal-scoring, Alli said: “I think a lot of my goals come from anticipating play. Just constantly thinking and trying to predict what’s going to happen. When you’re in the box, it’s all quick-quick-quick.

“So you’ve got to sort of guess what’s going to happen next. Where the ball might fall, so you can get that extra yard on the defender.”

Last season’s runners-up Tottenham finished with 11 wins from the final 12 games, and the best attack and defence in the top-flight, but they are the only Premier League club yet to make a summer signing.

Alli believes Spurs are within touching distance of a maiden Premier League title but he admitted the club need to make at least one signing.

“I think we’re inches away from it [the title]. Maybe another player or two players is all we need.”

Dan is ESPN FC’s Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.

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