Mauricio Pochettino has leapt to the defence of Dele Alli, insisting the Tottenham attacker is the best 21-year-old in the world right now.
Alli had not scored for 16 matches in all competitions before he found the net in Spurs’ 4-1 victory over Bournemouth last weekend.
Despite his goal drought, Alli has now had a hand in 15 goals in the Premier League this season – six goals and nine assists.
He has scored 10 goals overall this term, less than half of the 22 he managed in the previous campaign.
On top of that, his performances have been inconsistent, leading to some Tottenham fans calling for Alli to be dropped for certain games in recent months.
But Pochettino believes Alli should not be criticised regardless of his dip in form.
“If we are not happy with him, that is what is important for him, and we never criticise him,” Pochettino told reporters on Thursday (via Ham&High).
“When you compare him, Dele Alli, at 21 years old, with all the players in the world – not only in Europe but in the world – I think he is the best, in his age, in his form, with assists and everything.
“I don’t understand why there is still that [sniffy] feeling. For me Dele Alli, in his age, is the best – that’s it – in the world.
“Tell me one better than him, a 21-year-old, with all that he achieves. Tell me one. Now. A current player.
“Maybe you can find similar, but better than him? For me he’s the best because he is my player too – maybe I’m not objective. But for me, he is amazing, all that he is doing.”
Alli was substituted late on against Bournemouth with what appeared to be thigh injury.
He was expected to undergo a fitness test before Saturday’s trip to Swansea in the FA Cup.
Spurs made no mention of that test in their team news update on Thursday, so Alli is likely to start at the Liberty Stadium.
Tottenham fans will be hoping he will now go on a goalscoring run following his equaliser against Bournemouth.