Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says it is a surprise that Dele Alli has not been nominated for PFA Player of the Year and argued that the player 'deserves' to be included in this year's shortlist.
Alli, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is in line to retain the Young Player of the Year crown he wore for the first time last season.
But Pochettino was surprised the England regular was not considered for the main award alongside team-mate Harry Kane, Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante, Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal and Everton's Romelu Lukaku.
Alli is the Premier League's most prolific goal-scoring midfielder this term, with 19 in all competitions so far, plus one for England.
“Should he have been on the shortlist?" Pochettino said. "Yes, maybe yes, because he’s showing great performances every week, in every game.
"He’s improved a lot from last season. I think he’s a better player, he’s showing better stats and in my opinion yes, he deserves (to be).
"Always people want to see again in the second season if he can confirm all that he showed last season - and not only did he confirm that, he’s improved in all aspects of his game.
"That means he’s clever, intelligent, still with potential to improve and learn and today he’s showing that he’s one of the best players in the Premier League.”
Kane won the Young Player award two seasons ago, and is in the running for it this year as well, but missed out to Leicester's Riyad Mahrez for the main award last term.
Pochettino was hopeful it would be second time lucky. "In my opinion he deserves to win," he said.
Spurs host Bournemouth on Saturday lunchtime aiming to eat into Chelsea's seven-point lead at the top of the table.
Arsenal trail their north London rivals by 14 points and look set to finish above them for the first time since 1995.
Pochettino insisted he wasn't worried about the faltering Gunners anyway.
He said: "I think we’re playing and fighting for bigger things and if we look at the bigger picture it’s to try to reduce the gap with Chelsea.
"I think today it’s not important the gap we have with Arsenal. The most important thing is to job our job.”
Left-back Danny Rose is set to return to outdoor training next week following a knee injury and might be available for the FA Cup semi-final clash with Chelsea the following weekend.
Pochettino said: "We will see how he adapts on the pitch. Maybe it is too early but we will see what happens next week."