Pochettino: Alli not ready for England

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino believes it is too soon to talk about midfielder Dele Alli playing for England.

Alli, who left MK Dons in the summer, has been a revelation this season, forcing his way into Pochettino’s starting line-up with a series of sparkling displays.

England boss Roy Hodgson watched the 19-year-old play 90 minutes in Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last Sunday and is believed to be considering the midfielder for matches against Estonia and Lithuania next month.

Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Danny Rose have all received debut call-ups under Pochettino’s guidance but the Argentinian has warned against rushing Alli to follow suit.

“It’s the same situation as last season with Harry Kane,” Pochettino said.

“Be careful with the younger players, the players who arrive in the Premier League and perform well. It’s not easy.

“But again, like last season, it’s not my decision. It’s Roy Hodgson’s decision if he wants to call up Dele Alli.

“You can see he’s a player that is very mature and shows great quality but always in football it’s step by step and we need to be careful.

“He will mature. He has personality and good character. But it is too much of a rush to talk about bigger steps for him.”

Kane scored 79 seconds into his England debut in March but has managed only two goals in 16 appearances since for Tottenham and is yet to get off the mark in the Premier League this season.

Despite the drought, Kane has played well in games for Spurs and Pochettino insists he has no plans to pull the 22-year-old out of the firing line.

“He was on the bench against Qarabag but I think he needs to play to have the opportunity to score,” Pochettino said.

“We need to stop speaking about Harry Kane, we need to let him do his job. The most important thing is I’m very happy with his effort, the way he has been playing.

“Strikers need to score but it is only a matter of time, the goal is coming.

“You always need to try to ask why – he needs to improve, we need to ask why to improve his performance in games.

“This is a tough moment because he needs to score because he is a striker, but around the club, in the changing room, we believe in him.”

Spurs take on league leaders Manchester City on Saturday, hoping to bounce back from Wednesday’s Capital One Cup defeat to Arsenal.

They are also looking to reverse a recent run of poor results against City, who have won the teams’ last four meetings, scoring 16 goals and conceding just twice.

“Tomorrow is a good opportunity to change the dynamic,” Pochettino said.

“Football is psychological and emotional. We need to be ready for tomorrow to compete. This is the most important thing. To compete.

“We are ready for tomorrow, we are fresh and we want to give a good result to our fans after the defeat on Wednesday.”

Ryan Mason remains sidelined with a knee problem while Mousa Dembele, Nabil Bentaleb and Alex Pritchard have ankle injuries and also miss out.