Pochettino’s fears allayed over Dele Alli England call-up

Image: SpursWeb
Mauricio Pochettino’s fears that England recognition would be too soon for Dele Alli have been allayed by Roy Hodgson, with the Tottenham head coach saying he backs and respects the decision.

The subject of the 19-year-old receiving a maiden senior call-up was broached last week, leading the former Argentina international to express his concerns.

Alli was still playing in League One for MK Dons just five months ago and only has six top-flight appearances to his name, with Pochettino warning that the national team need to “be careful with the younger players”.

Hodgson clearly believes the midfielder is ready, though, and called him up for the upcoming Euro 2016 fixtures against Estonia and Lithuania.

Alli produced another impressive display hours later in Monaco as Tottenham were held to a 1-1 draw in the Europa League – after which Pochettino said Hodgson had called to reassure him.

“This is good news for us today and for him and we are all happy,” the Spurs head coach said. “It is good for him and for Tottenham after.

“It is done and the decision is always for the manager. Roy Hodgson called me, sent a text and said he will look after him. It’s not a problem and in the end every single player is different.

“He has a very good character, is very mature and how he plays is how he is. The only thing is we need to work with the national team.

“We are here to help, we love the England players and have the possibility to go to the national team.

“The most important thing is we have a very good relationship with Roy and we need to look after the player all together to look after him and his career.”

Alli follows a long line of English talent to win their first senior call-up under Pochettino, varying from Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert at Southampton, to Harry Kane and Ryan Mason during his time in north London.

“It is not about the number of games and if he is 19, 18 or 20 years old,” the Spurs head coach said. “It is about performance and believing in the players.

“It is a decision for him and we need to respect and back the decision and then the supporters can enjoy with him.

“It’s not many games he has played for is but the supporters will enjoy a lot the way that he plays.”

Alli took to Twitter to say he was “delighted to have been called up for the England senior team” after the draw in Monaco, as well as expressing his frustration that Spurs did not get three points from their Group J tie.

Erik Lamela tapped home after he started the move with some wonderful skill, only for Stephan El Shaarawy to level as the match came to a close.

“We lost two points,” Pochettino added. “This is out feeling because (in the) second half we were better.

“The first half was 50/50 and they created some chances, but the second half we had some chances and they create some chances.

“Many crosses we concede and this we need to fix for the next game and when you don’t kill the game this can happen.”

Alli said the draw felt like a defeat in the Tottenham dressing room.

“It was a strong first half for us and maybe we could have seen the game out then and finished a few of our chances, but it wasn’t to be,” Alli said on Tottenham’s website.

“It shows how well we’re doing to come away to Monaco and for 1-1 to feel like a loss.

“The boys are down and it’s important we pick ourselves up again and take the positives from today into the game against Swansea at the weekend.

“They’re a good side – and we knew what we had to do to win the game and we stuck to the game plan, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be and they got that goal.”

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