It’s too early for Dele Alli – Southgate

Date published: Friday 2nd October 2015 9:43

Dele Alli: Called up by England

England Under-21 coach Gareth Southgate says it is too soon for Dele Alli to be called up to the senior England squad.

Southgate claims England boss Roy Hodgson has been forced to turn to the Spurs teenager for the forthcoming games with Estonia and Lithuania because of injuries to key men.

Alli, who joined Spurs from MK Dons, has started just three Premier League games and played just twice for the U21s and Southgate is keen for the 19-year-old to be protected.

Southgate said: “He has only started three games so we should be cautious in our views of him.

“We have been aware of him from under-18 level and he has been a consistently high performer.

“He has a lovely attitude and personality, wants to do well and keep improving and learning and he’s at a good club”

“He was well looked after at Milton Keynes right the way through the academy and into the first team and I think he’s been well looked after initially at Spurs.

“That has allowed him an opportunity to play in the Premier League but it’s really early stages for him.

“I just think we’ve got to be very careful how we handle him. I think there are quite a few injuries in that area of the field.

“In truth it’s a little bit early for him but we like him a lot, we think there’s a lot of potential there.

“There is still a long way and he needs a lot of protection.”

Alli was himself left “speechless” by his maiden England call-up, just five months after playing in League One.

This has been a remarkable year for the midfielder, having secured a £5million move to Spurs, achieved promotion with MK Dons and now earned his first senior call-up.

“I was speechless,” Alli said, when asked of his reaction to his call-up. “It’s been a really good start to the season for me. I maybe didn’t expect it to go this well.

“At the start of the season I set myself a target to try to become a regular in the Under-21s and try to get a few starts in the Premier League.

“Obviously, I’ve got a few starts already, so it’s been a great start and I can’t thank the players and staff enough for helping me settle in and play as well as I have been.”

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