In truth, until the midfielder’s introduction after 65 minutes, there was very little for either set of fans to get excited about at the King Power Stadium.
With the sweltering heat and two drinks breaks, it felt very much like a pre-season friendly.
However Alli’s arrival provided Spurs with the drive they needed to find a way through Leicester. The isolated Harry Kane finally had the support he was crying out for and when Nacer Chadli dinked a ball to the back-post, Alli gladly nodded home with just nine minutes remaining.
While the midfielder’s goal certainly highlighted Spurs’ need for another striker, it did also provide manager Mauricio Pochettino with a positive to take back to north London.
“He showed today that he is a player that can help the team,” said Pochettino. “He is very young. He comes from League One, Milton Keynes, and we believe he has very good potential.
“But we need to be careful with young players. We need to be calm with him because he is very young and needs our help.
“Remember last season with Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb, we need to be calm because there is a long way for him, this is only the beginning. He is only starting his career and needs to improve.” Pochettino can recall the first time he saw Alli and subsequently the moment he wanted the 19-year-old as part of his squad, and at the cost of £5m it looks to have been one of chairman Daniel Levy’s shrewdest buys.
“Last season I went to see him in the Capital One Cup against Manchester United. It was 4-0 for Milton Keynes,” said Pochettino.
“He played in the centre of midfield as a 17-year-old but was like a 30-year-old player. He is a player with clever movement and he never stops running. For me he has quality with his character and personality too.” Alli’s goal, as it turned out, was not enough to give Tottenham a first win of the season as Leicester’s own bright spark levelled the match.
On current form there are few wingers who can compete with Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian now has six goals in his last six Premier League appearances and his equaliser 90 seconds after Alli had given Spurs the lead was a thing of beauty. Cutting in from the right he wrapped the ball past an outstretched Hugo Lloris to maintain Claudio Ranieri’s unbeaten start to the season, but the manager says there is still more to come from the 24-year-old.
“Mahrez is important because, in this moment, he is in a great condition,” said Ranieri. “Everything he does is very good for the team: good passing, good shooting, good ideas.
“He is also improving in a defensive way. I am an Italian manager and I want to see how he defends too. Slowly, slowly he is getting better, at the end he will be a complete player.” Such has been the level of Mahrez’s performances that some have speculated the Premier League’s bigger suitors may look to prise him away from the King Power Stadium before the transfer window shuts on September 1.
But Ranieri has ruled out such a scenario and instead hinted that it will be Leicester loosening the pursestrings in the final days of the window.
“Nobody is going. Everybody stays with us,” said Ranieri. “We don’t need the money I am sure. Nobody is for sale.
“Nobody is going away from Leicester, we are building a very good team. All the players are in very good condition, that is important.
“We have started very well but we must improve a lot. Maybe somebody will be brought in. Maybe some good players can come in again, there are 10 days left so why not?”
Schmeichel 6; De Laet 5, Huth 6, Morgan 7, Schlupp 6; Mahrez 8 (94 Ulloa 5), Drinkwater 6 (80 Inler 5), King 7, Albrighton 6 (78 Kante 5); Okazaki 5, Vardy 7.
Schwarzer, Fuchs, Benalouane, Kramaric.
Lloris 6; Walker 5, Adlerweireld 6, Vertonghen 6, Davies 5; Mason 5 (88 Bentaleb 5), Dier 5; Chadli 6, Dembele 6 (77 Carroll 5), Lamela 4 (65 Alli 7); Kane 5.
Vorm, Rose, Trippier, Onomah.