Spurs boss urges caution over Dele Alli amid talk of senior England call-up

Mauricio Pochettino has urged caution over Dele Alli and questioned whether he needs to be fast-tracked into the senior England squad.

England manager Roy Hodgson was at White Hart Lane on Sunday to observe Alli’s impressive performance against Crystal Palace.

And, given the Three Lions have already topped their qualifying group for next summer’s European Championships, there are suggestions he will pick an experimental squad for the matches against Lithuania and Estonia on October 9 and 12 respectively.

Alli’s former manager at MK Dons, Karl Robinson, this week stated that the versatile Alli could have a role to play at the Euros, observing that “as a wildcard Dele ticks a number of boxes”.

But Pochettino feels there is no need to give the 19-year-old midfielder – who has only started two Premier League games after making the jump up from League One – another rapid promotion.

“It’s the same situation as last season with Harry Kane - be careful with the youngsters, be careful with the players that arrive in the Premier League and perform well,” said Pochettino. “It’s not easy but again, like last season, it’s not my decision. It’s Roy Hodgson’s decision if he wants to call [up] Dele Alli.

“I think you can see he’s a player that’s very mature and shows great quality but always in football it’s step by step, game by game and we need to be careful with the youngsters. He’s mature, he has a good personality and character but it’s too rushed to start to speak about bigger steps for him.”

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While it may be purely coincidental, Kane’s prolific goalscoring exploits for Tottenham tailed off after he made his England debut in March.

He took just 79 seconds to find the net for the Three Lions after coming off the bench against Lithuania at Wembley, having already scored 29 times for his club last term.

But his ratio dropped a little as he added two goals in his last nine games of the season for Spurs, and he has struggled for the Lilywhites at the start of the current campaign.

While he struck in both of England’s games against San Marino and Switzerland last month and has continued to offer a threat for Spurs, he is yet to score in his eight matches for the Lilywhites this campaign.

“You always need to try [to find out] why,” said Pochettino. “I think he needs to improve and we need to realise why to help him to improve his quality and his performance on the game.

“This is a tough moment because he needs to score because he’s a striker but around him – in the club, in the changing room - we believe in him and it’s not a big issue.

“The most important thing is I’m very happy with the effort, with the way he plays. All strikers need to score but it’s only [a matter of] time, I think the goal is coming.”

Asked if there might come a point where he would leave Kane out of his starting line-up, Pochettino said: “I think it was against Qarabag, he was on the bench. But I think he needs to play to have the opportunity to score.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs