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- Dele Alli is one of England’s best players and he may well be one of the most superstitious, too.
- The midfielder wears bits of kit that is over a decade old, dresses his right leg before his left, and wears a piece of unnecessary tape.
- He also has to sit in an ice bath for eight minutes exactly. And he prays.
- Read all of Business Insider’s World Cup coverage here.
One of England’s best players, midfielder Dele Alli, may well also be the most superstitious.
According to a recent i News report, the 22-year-old has to dress himself a certain way, wear kit that is over a decade old, and pray to God before he even feels like he is match-ready.
It is an exhaustive routine he adheres to ahead of every game – and it is highly likely he will go through it all later today, before England takes on Croatia in a 2018 FIFA World Cup semifinal match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia.
In the photograph above, you can see three numbers. The first points to Alli’s right leg. That is the leg the player simply has to dress first, without fail, before he even thinks about his left leg.
According to i, when Alli is in the locker room he will put on his right sock, his right boot, and his right shin-pad before duplicating the procedure on the other leg.
The second number points to a shin pad. Alli, somewhat bizarrely, “has been wearing shin pads since he was 11 years old,” according to i. That means he’s been wearing the same pair for the better part of 13 years – yet they do not stink. He even lost that piece of old kit for a six month period, and it reportedly coincided with a period of poor performance.
Finally, the third number points to a piece of tape. Alli wore a piece of tape on his knee from an old injury in the build-up to the 2018 World Cup tournament. He took it off before the opening game against Tunisia, but had an injury scare. Though he has sufficiently recovered, he has seemingly started wearing the tape again, as the photograph above is from England’s most recent match, the July 7 victory over Sweden – so it seems the tape is unnecessary.
Alli has other quirks. He will only sit in the ice bath for eight minutes – not a minute more, not a minute less – and he has to pray. What does he pray for, you ask? “That I score and we win,” he said.
On his eccentricities, Alli added: “I have a lot of superstitions. There are so many… it’s a bit crazy.”
As he netted in England’s 2-0 quarterfinal against Sweden it seems his “crazy” routine is certainly working for him.