Roy Hodgson believes Dele Alli can become the new Bryan Robson, though reminding supporters that his midfielder is still aged just 19.
Alli’s rapid rise shows no sign of slowing, having seamlessly transformed from League One prospect at MK Dons to Premier League star at White Hart Lane.
Alli’s displays are helping Tottenham push for a first league title since 1961 and have made him the bookmakers’ favourite to cap his maiden top-flight campaign with the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
Those displays have also gained Hodgson’s trust and will see the teenager start a second England match on Saturday, ahead of which the manager compared the midfielder to ‘Captain Marvel’ Robson.
“He could do anything in that midfield position,” Hodgson said of Alli’s potential. “I think he can be box-to-box, a number 10, if you like to call it that, or a number six.
“He could be any of them because he has genuine all-round ability. He can challenge, he can run, he can fight for the ball, he can see a pass, he can score a goal.
“You mention Bryan Robson – that’s the player I would like to think he could become, but don’t forget we’re talking about a 19-year-old.
“It’s so dangerous these things because he’s at the start of his career and we hope it is going to be a very long one, both for Spurs and for England.
“But we believe in him and we think he is good. If I hadn’t have believed in him, I wouldn’t have put in the team tomorrow night because we’re going to go out there and try and win this game.”
Victory may be the goal but those charged with achieving that boast just 161 England caps between them – by contrast, Germany’s Lukas Podolski has 126 to his name.
Jack Butland has been given the nod ahead of Fraser Forster in goal, with Nathaniel Clyne, Chris Smalling and captain Gary Cahill joined by debutant Danny Rose in defence.
Adam Lallana, Danny Welbeck – making his first England appearance in a year – and Harry Kane form the attacking trio in front of a midfield containing Jordan Henderson, Eric Dier and Alli.
It means there will be four Spurs players in the starting line-up in Berlin – with the club bond something Hodgson believes can benefit England, just like Alli’s sometimes tempestuous nature.
“A player’s temperament is often what brings him to the position that he enjoys,” Hodgson said.
“I’ve not seen anything particularly worrisome in his temperament, so that doesn’t worry me.
“As far as the block of Tottenham players, yeah, that can’t be anything but an advantage if they can carry on and play as well for England as they do for Tottenham. That would be advantageous.”