Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has defended Dele Alli after Roy Keane’s criticism that the midfielder has lost his “hunger”.
The Argentinian manager admitted the expectations of the England international are high, and people need to remember he is just starting out in his career.
Pochettino said: “Yes, when we need to remember that Dele is so young. The demand and pressure is massive on him. Everyone expect big things.”
Alli has been widely criticised in recent weeks, after failing to rediscover the form which had him touted as one of the hottest midfield prospects in Europe.
Speaking on Sky Sports after Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool, former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane claimed Alli had lost his appetite to improve and had his head turned by off-field interests.
“He’s lost that hunger, and when you lose that hunger it’s hard to get it back,” the Irishman said. “Today he was non-existent and he has been now for a year or two.
“He is a quality player but unless you’ve got the hunger and desire to go in and train properly and try and improve, and all this off-the-field stuff that I see him getting involved in where he thinks he’s a male model of some sort, do me a favour. He needs to start looking in the mirror and wondering why he’s lost that hunger and where it’s all gone wrong. Take control of your own career.”