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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Only 20 yet an essential component at Spurs

He was only recently being criticised by Spurs fans who wanted him dropped, but 20-year-old (21 in April) Dele Alli is the most important emergence from English football in recent years Mauricio Pochettino told Spanish newspaper AS.

“He is a player with very aggressive offence, ruthless when going forward and with determination, which makes him extremely dangerous. He has a great understanding of the game and masterfully attacks spaces, good mentality and self-confidence. He is the most important emergence from English football in recent years.”

We tend to forget he is only 20 and has only had one season of top flight football. He started the season as a player Pochettino was going to give cameo appearances and bring along slowly. Alli had other ideas and simply grabbed his chances to make himself a fixture in the team.

Faith in his own ability and a fast willing learner, there were always going to be periods where performances were not at his usual high standards. Some of the first time balls he plays are superb and create our attacks, at other times they are pivotal in creating chances and on other occasions they don't work. The important point is that he tries things where it matters in the last third.

I have talked about Christian Eriksen needing to chip over defences more, we saw it from Alli against Watford when he was on the edge of the area. That gives us something different, it gives us the unexpected, quite apart from the threat he poses from his own shooting. Who can forget his flick and volley against Crystal Palace.

With the Daily mail wanting to revive transfer stories, the Spanish press report what the English press are saying, thus contact Pochettino for a quote. Like Harry Kane, Dele Alli is simply not for sale at any price, Spurs are not in the position of being a stepping stone club for players now. We have taken a step forward, perhaps only half a step, but a step none the less.

We have built that young group of hungry players some of us were calling for, who can stay together and grow together. One or two will be lost and replaced by others, that is the natural way of things. Harry Winks is making a name for himself and showing at a young age he can be trusted. The fact Alli is part of a young group who all get on well just creates that extra little tie, an extra little reason to stay put and simply ignore all the press shenanigans.

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