Dele alli lis the best player in the world for his age, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has declared
The 21-year-old has had praise and criticism heaped upon him in recent months.
His rise from League One football at MK Dons to being a regular for both club and country while still a teenager is a remarkable story. But claims that he is a diver have been added to grumbles that he doesn’t score enough goals or put in consistently stellar performances.
All of this is baffling to Pochettino however, who issued an unequivocal assessment of his player’s attributes.
“When you compare him at 21 years old with all the players in the world – not only in Europe, in the world – I think he is the best,” he said. “I don’t understand why people still criticise him. Dele Alli, for his age, is the best. That’s it. Tell me one better than him, a 21-year-old, who has achieved as much. Maybe you can find similar. But better than him?” “I don’t understand why people still criticise him. Dele Alli, for his age, is theMauricio Pochettino thinks the youngster is one of the best in the world (Getty)
The statistics bear out the Argentinian’s claim as although Alli has just 10 goals in all competitions this season he is nonetheless joint-top of the list of goals and assists made by 21-year-olds in Europe’s biggest five leagues.
Alli, whose groin niggle has made him a doubt for Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Swansea City, has scored six goals and contributed nine assists in Premier League action. Maxi Gomez of Celta Vigo has scored 13 goals and set up two for team-mates, with Bordeaux’s Malcom – a January transfer target for Tottenham – next with a combined total of 14.
As for players who are 21 or younger, only Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain, with 13 goals and eight assists, is above Alli, who is comfortably ahead of Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford in this category.
A number of players who are slightly older than Alli have established themselves in the big leagues, such as Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.