Despite Spurs solid performance in the Premier League last season, striker Dele Alli has come under recent criticism for his somewhat disappointing goal scoring record this year, as well as his well-known temper and accusations of diving.
The 22-year old has also been booed at away games and his England squad mate Eric Dier has commented on the incidents, saying, ‘That is the world we live in, whether it’s fair or not…I don’t think [it’s fair] but that’s the world he is going to live in for a long time, so he will have to get used to it…He is always going to divide opinion and I think he is comfortable with that.’
‘He will have to get used to it’
The issue of criticism of players has been at the forefront of football commentary recently, particularly apposite in a week where another World Cup squad mate, Raheem Sterling, has been criticised for a new firearm related tattoo.
Raheem Sterling has defended the "deeper meaning" of his new tattoo after coming in for criticism from anti-gun campaigners.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 29, 2018
World Cup captain and Spurs striker Harry Kane has also shared his thoughts on the issue, saying ‘It is easier these days to maybe banter England players or take the mick out of England players…If we don’t do well in the World Cup, the response is ‘Oh, we told you so…It is maybe a weaker mentality, but we are focused on what we need to do. We have to go to Russia believing we can win.’
Both Kane and Dier’s comments contribute to an ongoing debate about the role of supporters in the run up to major tournaments, and a perception that English fans are the only group that criticise footballers so heavily for relatively minor issues at a time when they should be getting behind the team. Although players have brushed it off as just part of the game, we will see over the summer if this uniquely British trait can have an effect on the international game.