If there was one Everton player who summed up the club completely right now it would be Dele Alli.
We know he’s capable of brilliance, we know he has potential and we know he can do a lot better than he’s currently doing.
Alli, 25, is the crisis player at the crisis club.
Since joining the Blues from Tottenham on a free* transfer from Tottenham in the January transfer window, Alli has played six times in the Premier League – 169 minutes of football.
He’s yet to start for Frank Lampard’s side and yet to have any kind of an impact when he’s been on the pitch.
On Sunday, ahead of Everton’s 2-1 defeat at West Ham, Alli was overlooked by Lampard after he lost Donny van de Beek to injury in the pre-match warm-up and Alex Iwobi was played in the centre of the midfield instead.
That summed up Alli’s time at Goodison so far. Overlooked, not trusted and shunted out.
Lampard wouldn’t have signed Alli unless either he knew he could get the ex-Tottenham ace to shine or unless it was out of sheer desperation.
Right now, it’s looking like the latter because Alli hasn’t done any to justify the £10million fee Everton would pay to Tottenham once he’s made 20 appearances for them [Telegraph].
According to an update by the Telegraph on 4 April, Alli’s future at Goodison Park “would be in serious doubt” if the Merseysiders are relegated from the Premier League for the first time ever this season.
And on that relegation battle, tonight sees Everton play Burnley at Turf Moor in what can easily be considered a six-pointer at the bottom of the Premier League table.
Going into the game tonight [6 April], Everton are 17th in the Premier League table, three points clear of Watford in 18th and four points ahead of 19th-placed Burnley.
Burnley’s form is rotten but they are more than capable of beating this just-as-rotten Everton side right now and if they do that, our relegation worries will increase tenfold.
There’s a good chance that Alli will be involved – or even start – at Turf Moor due to van de Beek’s injury at West Ham on Sunday.
Allan is suspended, Fabian Delph has been injured and Tom Davies and Andre Gomes are both currently injured.
Unless Lampard opts to play Iwobi with Abdoulaye Doucoure in the middle of the park against Burnley, there’s a good chance Alli could start.
It’s a make-or-break 24 hours for the 25-year-old.
If he steps up and shines in this game, there’ll be hope that the once-mercurial England star will be able to drag this team out of the relegation battle.
If not, Everton could be lumbered with a big-name, expensive player who no one will want in the Championship.