Mauricio Pochettino,while also being cautious, is predicting that Dele Alli has the ability join the world’s greatest players according to an article in The Telegraph.
Dele is available against Real Madrid tonight for his first Champions League match this season following a three-match suspension. Pochettino referenced what he called a “strange…difficult” pre-season for the 21-year-old, and said that Alli himself has been disappointed with his form.
“He was banned and it can affect the motivation about preparing to compete,” said Pochettino. “You feel a little bit down and, sometimes, you stay here at the training ground alone. It’s not easy. Maybe he was affected a little bit. But now, we are so happy with what he is doing.
“He is motivated now. His internal motivation is higher now to try to compete at his best level. I am not worried about him. I think he needs to enjoy playing football. He will show his character and personality like he did against Manchester United. I think he is calm. He feels [it] too, because he is disappointed with himself that he’s not at his best but it’s coming. Like the winter is coming.”
The article referenced another flare-up on Saturday – this time with Ashley Young – has done nothing to allay ongoing questions about his temperament however Pochettino had a stern message for Alli over the summer and reminded him of who the player he is
The article adds Despite this frank message, the overall warmth of Pochettino’s tone towards Alli was evident when he decided to take Alli to Madrid for the match two weeks ago even though he was suspended.
“That is so important,” explained Pochettino. “It’s something that starts to change in the club: to feel that you are part of the group and the project. That is the last step that we need to be stronger mentally. It’s not about running more, doing more sessions, tactics. The last step for us is mental.”