Ashley Young puts 'zimmer frame' spat with Dele Alli in the past as they unite for England's World Cup campaign
Ashley Young has revealed he has buried the hatchet with Dele Alli and has urged the Tottenham Hotspur star to ignore the critics who believe he must take the devil out of his game at the World Cup.
Dele told Young to “retire with a zimmer frame” during Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United this season with the 32-year responding: “When you’ve won the Premier League, let me know.”
The pair have since become England team-mates, following Young’s international recall, and are preparing for the World Cup together at St George’s Park.
Asked if he and Dele have managed to put their clash behind them, Young said: “We had a laugh and a joke about it.”
Young refused to go into any detail about his joke with Dele, but did back the 22-year-old’s win-at-all-costs mentality. “A lot of people say he has to take it out of his game, but I think he's one of those players that plays on the edge,” said Young. “He winds people up. That's just him. He's a fantastic talent and, for me, to have him in the squad is unbelievable. He's shown in previous get-togethers and the last few days what a talent he can be, and what a talent he is.”
Club rivalries have been taken into past England camps, but Young insists there are no cliques in the current squad.
“A lot of things have been said by previous players, but here everybody gets on with everyone,” he said. “Everyone is pulling in the same direction.
“Obviously there is club rivalry, but when you are here with England, you are representing your country. The rivalries get put to bed. They are put aside. You are fighting together as one team.”
Young has demonstrated his own determination by winning a place in the England World Cup squad, having been left in the international wilderness for four years.
“I think it’s just the hunger and desire and passion I’ve got for the game,” said Young. “I’m a born winner. I want to win games and I show that.
“I wasn’t in squads, but I said before that I never gave up hope of getting back into England squads. I just had to get out there and play football and play as well as I could and, hopefully, the England manager would come and call me up again.
“Now he’s done that and I’m going to a World Cup and the excitement for me is massive. I’m delighted. I’m like a kid inside and I just want to get there and get the tournament started.”
Young did not play in any of England’s qualifiers, having only been recalled after for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil last November, but could start at left wing-back in Russia.
“That doesn't play a part at all, whether I was involved in the qualifiers or not, I'm here now,” said Young. “I'm here because I've been rewarded for how my season has gone and how well I've done. The manager has seen that.
“I’ve settled well into the squad, everybody has. The team spirit and togetherness we have here is brilliant. You're welcomed into the squad with open arms. I'm not thinking ‘because I haven't been in the qualifiers, I shouldn't be here’. I'm like others in the squad, I can't wait for the tournament to get started.”