Owen Hargreaves has sympathy for Dele Alli, with Jose Mourinho watching him “like a hawk” at Tottenham.
Alli has made just three starts this season and has been hauled off at half-time twice, lasting an hour on the other occasion.
He was the worst of a bad bunch against Royal Antwerp and Hargreaves claims the 24-year-old is “playing really safe”, meaning he is ultimately ineffectual.
Hargreaves said: “He’s lacking in confidence and you can see his frustration with the fact he was making mistakes. He knows he’s being watched like a hawk by Mourinho and everyone. He wants to play well but when your confidence is low, you end up playing really safe.
“What I noticed today was that when he was getting the ball into him, he was just stopping it dead rather than try to get it out of his feet and keep moving. He doesn’t want to make mistakes.
“He’s such a fabulous player but he needs to play with that freedom that we saw when he burst onto the scene when he was absolutely outrageous.”