Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli is mature enough to put his FIFA suspension behind him when Spurs face Huddersfield on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
Alli was hit with a one-game international ban by the governing body on Friday for making an offensive gesture during England’s World Cup qualifying win over Slovakia.
That rules him out of the home fixture with Slovenia on Thursday, but Pochettino is backing the 21-year-old to answer his critics as Spurs target a club-record sixth successive Premier League away victory.
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Huddsf’ld vs Tottenham
September 30, 2017, 11:30am
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“Does Dele have the mental strength to handle this? Yes of course,” said the Tottenham manager.
“He’s more mature today. I think you can feel the same. He’s not the kid who arrived three years ago.
“A lot of things have happened in that period and he’s mature enough to deal with the situation.”
Meanwhile, Pochettino has described Alli’s midfielder partner Harry Winks as the “perfect midfielder”, after he impressed during Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Apoel Nicosia.
It was only Winks’ second start of the season after recovering from an ankle ligament injury suffered against Burnley in April.
“For me, he is the perfect midfielder, who can play box-to-box and like a holding midfielder,” said Pochettino.
“He has the quality and capacity to play and use the demand of the game and read it.
“He’s so clever, and we are so happy that he starts to feel better now because he provides to the team qualities that we don’t have.
“Winks is completely different to our other midfielders like Victor Wanyama, Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele and Moussa Sissoko. He has qualities to add to the team that are completely different.”