Pochettino has father-son relationship with Alli

Of his 19 this season, nine have been the all-important first goal for Spurs, while he has scored decisive late goals against Wycombe Wanderers, Everton and Swansea this year, underlining his emerging status as a clutch player. He's so experienced. His energy, his character, his quality.

Alli has played a key role in Tottenham's title challenge and his stunning strike against Watford on Saturday helped keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea. Still only 20, the youngster has the potential to become one of the best football players of this generation.

Only Ryan Giggs comes close to Alli, with 39 goals and assists before he was 21 but the Welshman had played 27 games more.

Eden Hazard has scored 14 goals in the league this season.

"Every day he's improving, and every day he gets more mature".

Alli scored his 16th goal of the season against Watford, leaving him only three behind his club and country team-mate Kane, who won the award last term.

Since that rush of blood, Alli has been a model of calm in Tottenham's impressive chase of Chelsea, scoring six goals and helping create several others in seven appearances.

Pochettino, who enjoys an nearly paternal relationship with Alli, believes his willingness to forgive the midfielder's mistakes is vindicated by his phenomenal progression.

Graeme Souness, Alan Smith and Niall Quinn also stated Conte's case, as did Thierry Henry, who simply added: "I don't know why he's still in this category!" "His age and with his stats, I think so", the Argentinian replied.

One of the best young players in Europe?

Sixteen yellow cards and one red in the past 20 months certainly attests to this, while his horror tackle on Gent's Brecht Dejaegere in February, for which he was handed a three-match ban from European competition, showcased a darker, sinister side to the 20-year-old.

"I've seen a new maturity from him this year". "The Tottenham midfielder has an eye for a chance and has displayed the full range of his versatility of late, arriving with ideal timing to make tap-ins look simple, pulling away for headers and, on Saturday, curling in a lovely shot that opened the floodgates". When you are winning and you feel that to lose on the pitch is like losing your life, that is all we want in a player.

"To improve, it's not about to punch him or to punish him".

  • Leroy Wright