Dele training with Premier League star striker after Everton support as return eyed

Seamus Coleman and Dele Alli during the pre-season friendly match between Everton and Sporting CP at Goodison Park
-Credit: (Image: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Dele has been working with fellow pros including Dominic Solanke as he continues his recovery from injury.

The 28-year-old has looked sharp in training sessions with the Bournemouth striker and other players, footage of which has been shared on social media, during a close season that is pivotal to his future.

Determined to get back onto the pitch after a season in which he did not kick a ball for Everton, his efforts have seen him commit to camps in London and Portugal over recent weeks.

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Those programmes have seen him link up with Solanke, who scored 19 goals in the Premier League for Bournemouth last season, and other professional players including West Bromwich Albion’s Nathaniel Chalobah as he steps up the intensity as part of a long road to recovery. The close season work follows a campaign in which he was plagued by injury, including a groin issue that required surgery.

Dele’s two-and-a-half year Blues deal expired last week, marking the end of a difficult period in the former Tottenham Hotspur player’s career. After signing in the same January that Frank Lampard took over at Goodison he went on to feature 11 times - most notably coming on at half-time in the penultimate game of the season against Crystal Palace. Everton were 2-0 down at the break but Dele was heavily involved in a second half comeback that secured the win needed to confirm Everton’s Premier League survival.

The midfielder started the following season in the first team before moving on loan to Turkey with Besiktas. He returned injured and has since suffered repeated misfortune, at one point nearing a comeback last season before suffering a major setback while on the training ground. Footage released online shows he is making good progress in his latest recovery efforts as he is put through his paces alongside the likes of Solanke and Chalobah.

While Dele’s deal has formally ended, he is still expected to be a presence at Everton this summer after the club offered him the opportunity to continue his rehabilitation at Finch Farm. Speaking in May, director of football Kevin Thelwell said: "Dele's contract is coming to an end, but our medical team will continue to support him while he completes the intensive rehabilitation programme he is currently undergoing following the operation he had earlier this year… Both Sean Dyche and I agree it is important we ensure Dele's rehabilitation is not impacted by his contract situation at such a critical point in his recovery."