The former Arsenal defender commented after Alli featured in England’s 1-0 defeat by Germany on Wednesday night, with the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder emerging as a pivotal cog in the current international side despite the loss.
Alli has enjoyed a strong season with Spurs, which contrasts Özil’s below-par campaign with their north London rivals as the Gunners currently languish down in sixth place in the Premier League table. And Dixon, who described Alli’s talents as “limitless” following the international friendly in Dortmund, was keen to point out the difference between to two players that did not fall kindly on Özil.
“If he's playing in the first team long term he is doing something right,” Dixon said on ITV. “The fact that he has come into Tottenham's first team and they are building around him, and now England, I think his talent is unlimitless [sic].
“That streak within him is part of his drive to stay above everybody else. Özil, if he had half of what Dele Alli has got, that nasty streak, he would be 10 times a better player than what he is. He hasn't got what Alli has got.”
Of course, Dixon was guilty of exaggerating slightly, given that Özil’s honours list includes a World Cup triumph, a La Liga title, two FA Cups and also cup victories in Germany and Spain, compared to Alli’s absence of a major trophy. The 20-year-old does appear to be destined for great things though, meaning that wait should not go on too long for his first piece of silverware, and his talent shone through at MK Dons where he worked under another ex-Arsenal player in Ian Wright.
“I had a year with him at MK Dons, when I saw him playing in those games, even in training and the under-21 games I took him in, he had the determination, the drive. You could see he was going to do what he is doing now,” Wright said.
“He wants to play No 10. At some stage are we going to build a team around him? Or are we going to do what we have done in the past and put him over here and over there to get him in the team.”
Wright also addressed his nastiness that sometimes overshadows his play and sometimes defines what makes him a determined character to succeed. Alli crossed the line last month when he was sent-off in Tottenham’s Europa League defeat by Gent at Wembley following a rash challenge, but Wright admitted he tried to bring that razor-sharpness out of him when he was playing.
“That nasty streak was something I tried to encourage in him,” Wright added.