Everton midfielder Dele eyes 2026 World Cup: ‘I know my level as a player’


Everton midfielder Dele Alli says he is targeting a return from injury next season and wants to play at the 2026 edition of the World Cup.

The 28-year-old last played in February 2023, with a series of injury issues keeping him out of action for over a year. In the summer of 2023, Dele opened up on his mental health struggles and revealed he was sexually abused as a child.

However, the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, who The Athletic reported in February was ready to take the next step in his recovery from injury, has is eyes set on a return to action in the summer

Speaking after his side’s 6-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Dele told Monday Night Football: “I know my level as a player. I know where I can get to. How good I can be when my head is in the right place and I’m feeling good.

“I’m disappointed with my injury right now. It is hard for me to watch football right now. The last eight months have been tough to watch.

“I have a reminder on my phone. 11 o’clock every day: World Cup 2026. That is my aim. People will say ‘He hasn’t played in a year.’ I don’t care. I know what my level is.”

Dele moved from Tottenham Hotspur to Everton in 2022 but has struggled for form at the Merseyside club. He subsequently moved to Besiktas on loan, where he also failed to find consistency in his performances.

He has made 37 appearances for the England national team, last playing for his country against Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League in 2019.

The midfielder’s Everton contract expires this summer but he remains focused on putting his injury issues behind him and returning to the field.

“The only target I have is the World Cup. I’m injured right now. I’m signed to Everton. My mindset is to take it day by day. Make sure my injury heals right and that I am in the best possible condition for the summer. I don’t want to rush it.”

Goals from Nicolas Jackson and Alfie Gilchrist in addition to four goals from Cole Palmer, sealed a dominant victory for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Everton are next in action against Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park on Sunday.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Forget what Dele might have become – his achievements are remarkable given everything he went through

(Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images)





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