Dele Alli 'most important player' of England's new generation - Pochettino
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has heralded Dele Alli, telling Spanish news agency EFE that the midfielder is "the most important player to emerge in English football in recent years."
Alli, 20, was named PFA Young Player of the Year after a remarkable breakthrough season at Tottenham last term and he was selected in the England squad for Euro 2016 along with clubmates including Harry Kane and Eric Dier, and other young stars such as John Stones, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling.
Pochettino, however, believes Alli, who has scored five goals in his last three Premier League games, is the most crucial member of England's new generation.
"He is a player with a lot of aggression in attack, ruthless and determined when he goes forward, which makes him extra dangerous," Pochettino said.
"He understands the play very well and is a master at attacking spaces, he's mentally strong and has confidence in himself. He is the most important player to emerge in English football in recent years.
"In the four years we have been in this country, we have had the huge luck to work with young players. First at Southampton, with Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Nathaniel Clyne and Calum Chambers, and now with Tottenham.
"Players with talent and motivation to improve and learn, which has been decisive. We have given them the tools so they keep improving and can reach the national team."
Another English player impressing for Pochettino's Tottenham is left-back Danny Rose, who has two assists and a goal from Spurs' last four matches -- all victories in the Premier League.
Rose previously said that Pochettino has encouraged him to play with the "arrogance" of Real Madrid and Brazil player Marcelo, and it was suggested to Pochettino that the England international is starting to live up to the comparison.
"If you told him that he would be very happy, [Marcelo] is a player that he likes a lot," Pochettino said. "We have an idea and a philosophy which we like to use, with the full-backs pushed up, as wing-backs.
"We see that area of the pitch as very important and this is a special position. We have players like [Kyle] Walker and Rose, who give us what we are looking for. We also have Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier -- young players who push the starters to improve, to be on their toes and who give them the competition they need."
Pochettino also spoke highly of Christian Eriksen, saying the Denmark international is the "brain" of the team, who makes Tottenham tick.
"He is a player with a great capacity to make the team play and make his teammates play better," he said. "Without doubt he is someone very special, a player who understands, without talking, what his teammates are doing. He is the brain, the player who gives everyone else the ability to understand the play."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.