Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino hails Dele Alli's versatility: 'He can always surprise you'

Evening Standard
Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images
Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Mauricio Pochettino has hailed Dele Alli's versatility after the midfielder played as a centre-forward in the latter stages of Sunday's 2-1 victory over Southampton.

Alli has made an attacking midfield role his own since joining Spurs, despite spending the majority of his formative years in a deep-lying position.

The 20-year-old played a key role as Spurs coped without Harry Kane to secure all three points against Claude Puel's side, including a confidently-taken penalty to take his top-flight tally for the season to 14.

Alli was ushered forward into an advanced attacking role after Heung-min Son's substitution and Pochettino is adamant the England international's intelligence helps set him apart from other players.

"I think he can always surprise you - you cannot guess with him. He has an unbelievable personality and character," Pochettino insisted.

"It's all possible with him. He's in his best position and he likes to run into the box, he's very offensive.

"In the box he looks like a striker because he is more than clever, very smart. Outside the box he plays like a midfielder.

"I saw him as a 17-year-old in Milton Keynes playing like a holding midfielder against Manchester United."

Such is Alli's determination to impress, Pochettino even joked that the midfielder may find himself in other unusual roles before his career is over.

"Always he can surprise you - maybe he can play as a goalkeeper, full back or a centre back one day!"

Meanwhile, Spurs are 10 points behind pacesetters Chelsea after seeing off the Saints but Jan Vertonghen is adamant he will not give up on his title dream until Antonio Conte's side lift the trophy.

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