Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has urged his England counterpart Roy Hodgson to exercise caution in introducing Dele Alli to the England set-up. Alli, 19, has made an immediate impact on the Spurs squad since his arrival from MK Dons in the summer, firmly establishing himself in the first team despite his tender years. His impressive club form saw him rewarded at the national level with a debut off the bench in the 2-0 victory over Estonia on 9 October.
Pochettino has been widely praised for his policy of bringing young English talent into the Tottenham first team, with Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb becoming regulars last season and Eric Dier and Alli following suit this term. But the former Southampton coach admits he was against the latter's international call-up, believing the midfielder's development needs to be carefully handled.
"Be careful with the young players that arrive in the Premier League. It is not easy. Again, it is not my decision," Pochettino was quoted as saying by The Mirror. "You can see he is a player who is very mature and shows great quality. But always in football you need to take it step by step, game by game. He has a great personality and good character."
With England's qualification already secured, Alli is expected to start in their final game against Lithuania on 12 October. Hodgson is also expected to make a number of changes, with Everton defender Phil Jagielka to captain the side.
"We are very fortunate in the sense that we have come through the match on Friday evening unscathed in terms of injuries," Hodgson said. "I think we have a very interesting team for Phil to lead out – a young team, obviously, but players that we believe in."