REUTERS – Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli has the potential to be as good as Juventus star Paul Pogba, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Pogba was named the youngest member of FIFA’s team of the year on Monday, alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
The 19-year-old Alli, who extended his contract with Spurs to 2021 on Tuesday, has been a revelation for the club this campaign, having netted five Premier League goals in 18 appearances.
After a string of fine performances, Alli caught the eye of England manager Roy Hodgson, who handed the midfielder his first appearance for his country in the 2-0 win over Estonia in October.
“Alli needs to feel free on the pitch and we need to help him improve in different positions because a versatile player like Pogba has a big, big value,” Pochettino told British media.
“A player like Dele Alli, we need to help him to improve, not to put him in a box.
“When he plays like a No. 10 he makes the movement like a striker and when he plays No. 8 or No. 6 he plays like a holding midfielder. He is very clever and that’s his best quality. It’s how he reads the game.”
Tottenham, fourth in the table with 36 points from 20 games, host second-placed Leicester City in the league on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)