Pochettino hails Alli as 'world's best' youngster


The 21-year-old has earned an unwelcome reputation for going to ground too easily, with referees now closely monitoring his every move.

Mauricio Pochettino has acclaimed Dele Alli as the best player for his age in world football. That's it. In the world. The one at Crystal Palace, that's the one I saw a lot of reaction to. Spurs are now 15 matches unbeaten against the Welsh club, as Pochettino names four changes to the side who beat Rochdale in the previous round.

"Sometimes success doesn't help you to be better", he added, pinpointing how little difference his own Copa del Rey triumphs made to him. But better than him? "Maybe I am not objective but for me, he is unbelievable, all that he is doing".

"Yes, but this season".

Spurs have been one of the best teams in England under Pochettino over recent seasons but have yet to back that up with honours. How does he measure up, for example, to Manchester City's Leroy Sané, who turned 22 in January?

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Angel Rangel, Leroy Fer, Renato Sanches, Leon Britton and Wilfried Bony are all ruled out of the historic encounter on Saturday. They have lost seven of their last appearances in semi-finals in a row - an unenviable record, dating back to 1993.

But Alli did not score in 15 appearances before his equaliser in last Saturday's 4-1 win at Bournemouth and he has been criticised for both diving and failing to hit the heights of last season, when he scored over 20 goals.

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane will be back in training next month although he is set to miss matches with the ankle injury he suffered against Bournemouth. "The most important for him is us, if we criticise him", he said.

Alli had a number of penalty appeals turned down by referee Kevin Friend in the 1-0 win for Spurs at Selhurst Park, and the 21-year-old was accused of attempting to win a penalty after colliding with Wayne Hennessey in the second half. For his age. In his form.

"I promise I am one of the most critical people with my players, but it is hard to criticise him".

That makes the task of Alfie Mawson just that little bit simpler, although the English side still possess a potent array of attacking talent and are clear favourites.

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The star said: "It's not something I really worry about and I don't think about it too much, so we don't have to talk about it". Yes, of course. We want always more.

"He's a fantastic player".

"The process is the most attractive thing, no?" asked Pochettino to those in attendance at his press conference before leaving for Swansea. "It is hard to criticise Dele".

Spurs are aiming to end a 10-year trophy drought as they prepare to visit Swansea City in Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final.

The South Korean global has emerged as a prominent player under Carlos Carvalhal and he will be important this weekend.

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