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Dele Alli has a message for the critics who claim he has a disciplinary problem

England and Tottenham Hotspur star Dele Alli has claimed that his reputation as a player who loses his head too easily is undeserved.

The 22-year-old has been accused of having an attitude problem after a handful of notable incidents on the pitch over the last few seasons.

He made a gesture with his middle finger while on international duty in a 2-1 win over Slovakia in 2017 for which he was banned for one game by FIFA.

In the Premier League he has so far picked up 18 yellow cards in 111 appearances but has never been sent off in the English topflight.

However, Dele was banned for three games in Europe in 2017 after seeing red against Gent’s Brecht Dejaegere in the Europa League.

A year earlier he was retroactively charged with violent conduct for punching Claudio Yacob in a match against West Bromwich Albion.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has often defended the youngster and explained his behaviour as “naughty” but nothing too serious.

Dele is rumoured to be on the verge of signing a new long-term deal with Tottenham and is close to return from injury. His last game came in a 2-2 win on penalties over Watford in the Carabao Cup played in Milton Keynes.

He rejects the suggest that he has a disciplinary issue.

“If you know who you are, and the people you work with and live with know who you are,” he told Joe . “Then it’s easy to ignore it when someone who is outside that says ‘this is the person you are.’

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“After I got sent off for Tottenham [against Gent at Wembley last February] in the Europa League, there was all this talk about my temper, for example.

“I’ve been playing football since I was 11 and there has never been a problem in my career for sending offs. Then I got that red and it was ‘oh, he loses his head a lot’ or ‘he’s got a discipline problem.’

“That’s when it’s most important to stay true to who you are and don’t start thinking ‘they’re saying this so I’ve got to change the way I play.'”

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