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Dele Alli’s Rolls Royce

Dele Alli’s Rolls Royce


Everton’s new signing has been criticised for his choice of car and clothes before he had even kicked a ball for his new side. Does what a player wears, or drives, really matter?


Hi, I’m Chloe and this is the Playmaker.

One story every day to make sense of the world of football.

Today, why was Dele Alli being criticised before he’d even kicked a ball for his new club?


In January, midfielder Dele Alli moved to Everton, after seven years at Tottenham. 

He’d scored 51 goals in 181 league appearances, but fell out of favour at the club when Jose Mourinho arrived as boss in 2020. 

And before he’d even played for his new side, Dele Alli was criticised.

“The other thing that…it didn’t annoy me, but I want to see the guy playing his football again, right? And I think it’s in The Sun this morning and Dele turns up, you know, and Frank’s obviously got him up at Goodison and maybe I’m old fashioned right, but he turns up in his Rolls Royce. I’m like oh no Dele, don’t do that.” 


It wasn’t just his car that caught people’s attention.

Everton’s new signings, Dele Alli and Donny Van Der Beek, were unveiled at half-time during a 4-1 win over Brentford in the FA Cup.

Speaking on BT Sport, Glenn Hoddle criticised Dele Alli for being too casual. He said he looked like he’d been “dragged in off the street” and that he “just wanted to see him play football.”

What’s behind the apparent concern about the car he drives and the clothes he wears? 


Frank Lampard quickly stepped in to support his new signing, and insisted that players must be allowed to express themselves.

“When you’re working closely with players and working with Dele, my personal opinion is that I don’t care what car he drives, what clothes he wears…as long as I get a lad that comes to training every day, wants to improve every day, respects the club, respects his teammates and then produce…you know and give everything to produce.”

Sky Sports

The new Everton boss went on to say that the modern game has moved on and that he can only deal with what’s in front of him. 

If ex-footballers are employed to comment on the modern game, shouldn’t they move on too? 

Graeme Souness – another ex-footballer of the same generation – famously criticised Paul Pogba for his changing hairstyles.

And in 2018 The Sun defended its coverage of Raheem Sterling, insisting that its reporting on his life had “nothing to do with skin colour”.


The Premier League has become multicultural. Dele Alli is from a mixed race background. 

The days of every footballer wearing a suit and having a short back and sides has gone. 

Shouldn’t pundits be celebrating – or at least be aware of – cultural diversity in the game that they are paid to talk about?


Journalist Dave Tickner pointed to a growing trend of older white men criticising the choices of young, black, footballers in his Football 365 column last week. 

Ally McCoist said the criticism was because of “generational differences.” 

But could there be some unconscious bias at play?

“Just going back to the generational thing… I’m somebody that turned up to training every day, collar and tie. So that was what we were…”

“Can I throw something at you though Ally? I would suggest that some of what you got up to off the pitch that didn’t get reported might be worse than turning up to a training ground…

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”

“Rolls Royce, or turning up to your unveiling in a pair of jeans and a woolly hat? 

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about that…however…”

“So is it only perception that’s important then?”

“We don’t know what anyone’s doing off the pitch yet we’re having a go at them for turning up in casual clothes…”

“Because…because…times have changed!”


If we try and unpick what Ally McCoist is saying here, it seems like he is holding Dele Alli to dress code standards set in the past. But also saying that we can’t compare Dele Alli’s fashion choices to any of his past off-camera misdemeanours because times have changed?

Let’s hear from Dele Alli himself. Here he is, speaking in 2020, about how he deals with criticism…

“A lot of people will be giving you criticism but to help you, and there’s a lot of people who will be saying it because it’s part of their job or…I think bad news always sells and a lot of people like to listen to that negative stuff sometimes…but I think you just have to focus your energy and your mindset on the people who are actually doing it for the right reasons.”

Sky Sports

When he signed for Everton, Dele Alli said that he “just wanted to be happy playing football.”

With so much scrutiny of what he drives and wears off the pitch, it seems like that wish may not come true. 


Today’s story was written by Chloe Beresford and produced by Hannah Varrall.