Alli can handle the hype – Pochettino

1 Apr

Dele Alli

Dele Alli has already scored seven times in his debut Premier League season

Mauricio Pochettino is confident Dele Alli can handle the hype after Sir Alex Ferguson said he was the most talented midfielder since Paul Gascoigne.

The 19-year-old has seven goals and 12 assists in his debut Premier League season, also impressing Roy Hodgson in England’s win over Germany on Saturday.

Hodgson likened Alli to Bryan Robson, before the former Manchester United boss made his Gascoigne comparison.

“I can only agree with him,” said Tottenham Hotspur manager Pochettino.

“It’s very good praise from one of the best managers in football history.

“Am I worried about the hype? No, you can see the whole season how he has managed the pressure. He is very calm, very mature.”

Paul Gascoigne<!–

Paul Gascoigne spent four seasons at Spurs and also won 57 England caps, scoring 10 goals

Tottenham visit Liverpool on Saturday, where Alli will face England team-mate – and captain against the Netherlands – James Milner, who does not want to put too much pressure on the teenager.

“We want to take it off him and let him go out there and not worry about it,” said Milner.

“Worry about playing football and keep improving because he is still young. Good as he is at this moment, he can be 10 times better and he will.”

Alli has played a big part in Tottenham’s challenge for a first title since 1961, linking up with striker Harry Kane on seven occasions to become the most productive partnership in Europe’s top five leagues.

“He has managed the pressure and the popularity and how to be a senior player and play for the national team. He is very calm,” said Pochettino.

“Now he is fresh, at a good level, he has a good mentality. He is mature enough. We have no worries about his future.”

Dele Alli and Harry Kane<!–

Dele Alli celebrates with Tottenham team-mate Harry Kane during England’s win in Berlin

While at MK Dons, Alli was driven up to Anfield by manager Karl Robinson and met then-manager Brendan Rodgers, only for the Merseyside club to stall on the deal.

Liverpool’s loss has been Tottenham’s gain, but Pochettino admits even he is surprised by the speed of Alli’s progress.

“There is always a question mark with a young player,” added the Argentine.

“You can assess his left and right foot, his performance on the pitch and in training. But how a young player can be affected by the big things that happen in football, being a senior player, being in the national team, this is always a question mark.

“You can be aware and try to support him, but I think that all the same it has surprised us how he has shown maturity.”


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