Theo Walcott and Joe Hart have both tipped Dele Alli to have a big future in the game after he caught their eye in England training.
Walcott is more than willing to put an arm around Tottenham teenager Alli, who has been called up for the first time after impressing Roy Hodgson with his early-season performances at White Hart Lane.
It is nine years since Walcott was a surprise inclusion in the 2006 World Cup squad and he knows all too well what it feels like to be involved with the national side from a young age.
Walcott said of Alli: “Seeing him for the first time in the flesh, he’s a big lad. He’s very classy on the ball and he’s only 19 so he’s got a long England career ahead of him, and with Tottenham as well.
“He’s in the spotlight straight away. I’m always there for him as I obviously was in the England squad at the early age of 17. I’ve been through it so he’s always got plenty of people here to talk to.
“Looking at him, he’s the sort of player who’d be able to deal with anything.”
Manchester City goalkeeper Hart also predicted a bright future for attacking midfielder Alli, who joined Spurs last January but was loaned back to MK Dons for the rest of the season.
“He’s really pushed on,” he said. “He had a good season last season and Tottenham look like they’ve given him confidence by putting him in their very good side.
“It’s good to get him in and he’s going to be in and around the England squad for a very long time.”
The Manchester City stopper does not believe beating Estonia and Lithuania to register 10 wins from 10 games in Group E is an achievement in itself, and is instead focused on chasing glory in France.
He said: “I think crowning it all would be winning the tournament but these are two games we’re going to look to win, like we’ve looked to win all the games so far.
“We’ve accomplished that so these are two more games in which we’re going to work on playing in the way we want to play, and then we move on.”
When pushed to concede that racking up 10 qualifying wins would be a commendable feat, Hart remained unmoved, adding: “I don’t see it being that great an achievement unless we go on and do well in the tournament in the summer.”
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