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Pochettino sees hints of himself in Tottenham starlet Dele Alli


Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino admits Dele Alli is "a little bit naughty" - but wants his young midfielder to stay that way.

The 19-year-old England international could have easily been sent off in Tottenham's 1-1 Europa League draw at Fiorentina on Thursday night after seemingly kicking out at an opponent.

Now he is ready to go up against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup fifth round at White Hart Lane tomorrow - just a month after being accused of stamping on Yohan Cabaye.

But Pochettino has said Alli's aggressive streak reminds him of his own playing days.

"He's still very young and needs to learn a lot," Pochettino said. "He's a little bit naughty. But it's good. I like it. I was like that. I was naughty like him.

"I was sent off a lot in my career. At Espanyol, in 10 years or 11 years... 13 or 14 red cards. It was a record.

"He's calm. He played the whole second-half with a yellow card. He's clever. Like me."

One man almost certain to play is former Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor - who will be making his first return to White Hart Lane after an acrimonious exit in September.

He has since joined Palace, although Spurs still pay a portion of his wages, and Pochettino insists there was only ever good feeling between the pair.

"We had a very good relationship with him for one year," he said.

"I think our fans will give a good welcome to Ade. He scored a lot of goals for Tottenham. But I think we need to show respect."

Belfast Telegraph