Alli: PFA nomination feels great

Tottenham starlet Dele Alli admits he didn't expect the PFA Young Player of the Year nomination and says he is focused on continuing to improve.

Dele Alli attended last year's PFA Award ceremony as part of the League One Team of the Year where he saw Harry Kane pick up the Young Player of the Year award. This year, however, the 20-year-old midfielder will be attending as a nominee for the same award, something the youngster says he did not expect.

"I was at the awards last year as I was in the League One Team of the year," he told the club's official website. "I saw Harry there, one of the first times I'd seen him and he won the PFA Young Player award. It was great to see a player from Tottenham winning that award.

"It's a big award, especially with the number of youngsters in this team and in the Premier League. There have been a lot of young players breaking through so for me to be nominated is a great feeling," he added.

"I can't say I expected it. I have had a good season but I still have a lot of learn and a lot to improve on. I have to give a lot of thanks to the manager here and the staff for putting their trust in me and helping me improve."

Alli has attributed his remarkable rise to prominence to his pre-season preparation work with Spurs' conditioning staff.

"I came in early to do some work with Anton (McElhone, rehab and conditioning coach) and got to know the place a bit better," he revealed.

"Once pre-season started, I wasn't really worried about the fitness side of it because I've always been naturally fit, it was more about the football side of things and focusing on that because it's a lot quicker and I wanted to improve on that and show what I could do.

"At the start of the season my target was to get 10 starts but as the season progressed I changed that to 10 goals. I can't say I expected it.

"I always had confidence in my ability and I knew I would get a chance here, that's one of the main reasons I signed for Tottenham because we have a great manager who works a lot with youngsters and you can see that this season.

"We have great youngsters in the team and everyone is looking to fight for their place. It's been a crazy year and I never thought it would happen this quickly."

Alli is certain to feature in Tottenham's home fixture against Stoke City on Monday night. It's a must-win match for the London side, who will close the gap on league leaders Leicester City to five points if they manage to claim all three points.