Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has moved to defend midfielder Dele Alli following a disappointing international break with England.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has moved to defend midfielder Dele Alli following a disappointing international break with England. The 21-year-old has too much pressure placed upon him at such a young age according to his manager, and Pochettino admits that Alli needs help.
Featuring for only 22 minutes out of 180 for England last week, many fear that Gareth Southgate isn't too keen on the former MK Dons playmaker. After a lightning two seasons of rising to the top, Alli has somewhat slowed down in his third, and many are questioning him.
However, his manager Pochettino seems to think this is an unfair summary of his player, who is still very early into his footballing career. According to Sky Sports, he said: "I have full confidence in him and his talent and because I know him - he is a great kid and a very good person.
"But he is young. He is 21. If you compare with normal people on the street who are 21, they are still living at home with their parents, they are still at university doing stupid things.
"Sometimes we expect too much and we put too much pressure on 21-year-old players. Sometimes we forget and treat them like 40-year-old men.
"It's not like this. We need to be focused on him being still a kid. It's a lot of pressure on his shoulders and not always can he act how the people and the society expect. That is so important to understand.
"We are going to help him because he is a talented player and a great kid. And he has done a lot for us and the club."
While Alli has only managed one goal in his last 17 appearances for Spurs, his boss remains patient, and goes as far as saying that Alli is one of the best in Europe:
"The problem is that in the last two seasons, he was unbelievable, amazing.
"Younger players always have ups and downs. Expectation was massive because he was always increasing his level and improving and improving.
"This season the expectation was massive, maybe too high. For me, he is one of the most talented players in Europe."