Dele Alli explains influence of ‘massive player’ on Tottenham side

The Tottenham midfielder heaps praise on Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld

Dele Alli has hailed Toby Alderweireld as a massive player for Tottenham Hotspur.

The Belgium international made his first start for the Lilywhites since October in Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over Russian side CSKA Moscow at Wembley on Wednesday night in their final Champions League group-stage game.

Alderweireld missed the north London side’s last 10 games in all competitions after he suffered a serious knee injury in the second half of their 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on 15 October.

Tottenham have struggled in the absence of their Belgian centre-half after a run of two victories in 10 games in all competitions before his return to the Spurs side against CSKA Moscow mid-week.

England and Spurs midfielder Alli talked up Alderweireld’s importance to the Lilywhites ahead of their trip to Manchester United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

“Toby is a leader, great defender, great on the ball and a great player,” Alli told Tottenham’s webste. “He’s a joy to play with, to be honest.

“He’s a massive player for us, Eric (Dier) has gone back there (into the central role in Toby’s absence) and done well and it will be interesting to see what happens now.”

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Alderweireld moved to Tottenham in an £11.5m deal from La Liga side Atletico Madrid in 2015 despite interest from his former club Southampton.

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