Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli admitted he cringed when he saw Ireland captain Seamus Coleman breaking his leg on Friday night, as he admitted he could be have been the one carrying a burden of guilt after committing a similarly shocking tackle last month.
Coleman looks set to miss the rest of 2017 after a double leg break inflicted by a horrendous tackle from Wales defender Neil Taylor, which revived memories of a challenge made by Alli last month.
England star Alli received a straight red card after he clattered in to Gent midfielder Brecht Dejaegere in a Europa League game at Wembley, with the Spurs talisman losing his cool as he lashed out at his rival.
Now it seems Alli has been reminded about the consequences of such reckless tackles, as he offered up these words of support for Coleman.
“I feel sorry for Seamus Coleman and I wish him a speedy recovery,” he stated.
“I’m sure the guy (Neil Taylor) didn’t mean to do that. He definitely wouldn’t have meant to injure the player. You go in for tackles and that’s the way it is.
“Like my tackle (on Dejaegere) I felt I was relieved that nothing bad happened to the player. “You never think that something like that is going to happen when you go into a tackle.
“I didn’t go in to hurt the player, I went in for the ball but sometimes it can look a lot worse than what happened in your head. I felt horrible after the game and I’m just grateful that nothing happened to him.”
Alli went on to insist he will not abandon the aggressive edge to his game, even though he has developed a reputation for being a player opposition teams can wind up.
“There’s been a lot said about me and my aggression but I think, to be honest, it’s not something I’m going to look to change,” he said.
“That’s the player I am, I’ve always been like that since I was younger. It’s about getting it under control and I think I’ve been doing that. But you have to be prepared to fight, to challenge and to get challenged.
“I’ve got to keep improving and learning...not maybe to play with less aggression but how I react in different situations is something I am looking to improve. I have been working on it, hopefully people can see that.
“Sometimes it can benefit the team if players dive in. If it’s going to help the team and get us free-kicks, I don’t mind it.”