Dele Alli: Premier League stats show he's better than England legends

Alli is looking more and more like a leader, despite his youth, and Tottenham are all the better for it.

The youngster's strike on Saturday was also the first of his 16 league goals this season to come from outside of the penalty area. Unlike earlier in the season, when Alli struggled to influence games without Kane playing in front him, the midfielder has flourished in the past three weeks since the forward injured his ankle against Millwall.

Son Heung-min grabbed the third and fourth goals either side of half-time, but squandered a wonderful chance to complete his hat-trick by missing the target after Kane set him up. A joy to watch. If the win at the Liberty Stadium had demonstrated Tottenham's mental "character" - as the Argentine had said - Saturday's victory reaffirmed the togetherness that now underpins the side.

"Wow. That's unbelievable, no?" was Pochettino's response when told that Alli has more Premier League goals and assists than Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo before the age of 21. 'First of all a great kid. And then he is a great player.

Alli bagged a goal and an assist as Spurs completed a dramatic late comeback against Swansea on Wednesday night to further cement their grip on second place in the table and automatic Champions League qualification for the second successive season.

"Every day he's improving, and every day he gets more mature. He's improving in his skills but in his character as well".

It is, unsurprisingly, a level matched by no other midfield player. In a little under 20 months at Tottenham, he has received 16 yellow cards and one red, the latter shown to the England global following his horrific tackle on Gent's Brecht Dejaegere in February and for which Uefa handed him a three-match ban from European competition.

The Belgian winger has produced some scintillating displays this campaign and has scored 14 league goals as Chelsea close in on winning the title.

"And this character is flawless for a player".

"When you've played like that, it gives the team a huge boost". And then of course he is young and he needs to improve, but he needs love. To improve is not to punch him or to punish him. "Was friendly, lovely, but tough too because it's like when you have your son, you love him, but sometimes you have to be tough".

The question now is just how good Alli can be. There were times past year where he was so confident in his ability that he'd beat someone twice.

"He's special", said Pochettino. He's so experienced. His energy, his character, his quality.

  • Julie Sanders