A global Tottenham Hotspur podcast and viewpoint, by the fans for the fans.
by Atour Toma
One of the stories that has come out of Tottenham’s resounding 4-1 win over Sunderland at the Lane on Saturday has been a peculiar and rather forgettable incident where Dele Alli casually threw a ball in the direction of Black Cats’ defender Patrick van Arnholt’s face.
The press – being the press – loved blowing things out of proportion and on this occasion felt the need to question Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino on the matter.
“He’s very young, he needs to learn a lot” the Argentine responded with a wry grin on his face. “He’s a little bit naughty. I like how he is because you need to be a little bit naughty when you play football. It is true that he needs to learn”.
“He’s come from MK Dons and played in League One last season. This is new to him but his character is his character. He is how he is”.
“It’s like your son. Sometimes you need to be hard with him, sometimes you need to be friendly and give love. I will show and explain that it is better if he reacted a different way”.
Having already scored five goals and bagged three assists in the Premier League this season, Alli has been a revelation and cemented himself as a regular starter in the side. However his five bookings so far make him Spurs’ second highest receiver of yellow cards this campaign (behind Eric Dier’s seven). Should this be a concern to Pochettino and the Spurs fans?
“Poch, being Argentine, and an international defender of notable pedigree, will know all too well the merits of tenacity and gamesmanship on the football pitch…”
The comments above suggest not. Pochettino, being a born and raised Argentine, and an international defender of notable pedigree, will know all too well about the merits of tenacity and gamesmanship on the football pitch. They say the way a football team behaves on the pitch is a reflection of the managers way’s of thinking. These qualities can be seen in several individuals across the Spurs side (e.g. Dier, Erik Lamela), and it is something that Pochettino actively encourages.
Alli can, at times, be accused of being impetuous or rash, but the impression is that Pochettino likes those attributes in his players as it displays a degree of determination and commitment which is usually hard to come by. Of course, it is something that will need to be addressed long-term so these traits can be focused and better channeled in the right way, but this will come with time as Alli matures under Pochettino’s tutelage.
In any event, for all his (admittedly few) faults, a determined Dele Alli picking up the odd booking here and there for some ill-advised ingenuity, is a million times more welcome than some of the listless and apathetic performances put in by Tottenham’s central midfielders in recent seasons – yes, Paulinho, I’m looking at you.
About the author:
AT (Atour Toma) is a Lifelong Spurs fan from London. Prone to spouting football-related nonsense. You can follow him on Twitter @AT_Spurs or https://hurrikaneseason.wordpress.com