Dele Alli is proof that England produce world-class players - Pochettino
LONDON -- Dele Alli is proof that England can produce players to rival Spain, Brazil and Argentina, according to Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, who says he is following Sir. Alex Ferguson's blueprint for success in the Premier League.
Since arriving at Southampton in 2012, Pochettino has gone against the grain, preferring to promote academy players to the first team, or buy and develop youth, rather than spending big -- a policy he admits is "a little bit crazy" for English clubs.
Alli joined Spurs from MK Dons for £5 million and he is the favourite to be named PFA Young Player of the Year for the second year running, and become the fifth Spurs player in six seasons to win the award after Kyle Walker in 2012, Gareth Bale in 2013 and Harry Kane in 2015.
Kane is a product of Spurs' academy, while Walker and Bale were also signed as teenagers from Football League clubs for nominal fees. Pochettino understands the pressure to win but believes Ferguson, who won 38 major trophies at United, proves it can be done by trusting youth.
"I think Tottenham is one of the best few clubs that believes, and for young players it is a perfect club to develop their game," he said on Thursday. "It's a big pressure to win when you are a big club.
"But I think, for me, the best example in football in many years was Manchester United with Sir. Alex Ferguson and what he created with young talent from the academy or from England, which created the core of a team that won everything. That is a good example for me.
"Southampton and Tottenham are showing that if you believe and work and spend time that they have the same talent as in Argentina, Spain and Brazil. It is all about belief."
Pochettino explained that overseas clubs had to blood young players as a financial necessity, but admitted that in England trusting youth requires a leap of faith.
"Dele Alli arrived here from League One and had similar talent to a lot of players. I don't say the same, but similar," he said. "It is so hard to help them develop and work with them and then give the possibility to play.
"It is true it is easier to go to France or Spain or Germany or Portugal or Argentina or Brazil, where the clubs have different economy.
"The way they can survive is to sell players and put youngsters, 17- or 18- or 19-year olds to play. Here, to bring in players who are 17, 18 or 19 or your own players through the academy when you have money to go in different markets, is only if you are a little bit crazy like we are.
"We in believe in younger players and discovering the talent. Thankfully we have very good academy and people like [head of coaching and development] John McDermott. They give them the possibility to play one day in the first team.
"That is about commitment with the club and giving the possibility to work and then you must show big belief and faith because the easier thing is to bring players. We spend 12 hours [per day] here [at the training ground] for different reasons but one of the reasons is that."
England's dismal record in major tournaments has been blamed on the Premier League's reluctance to trust young English players but Pochettino said that there was a similar mentality in Spain -- winner of three of the last four tournaments -- when he arrived at Espanyol as a player in 1994.
"It is true it is sometimes easier to look outside your country," he said. "It was the same in Spain 25 years ago. I remember when I arrived there...the coaches idea was that the talent was out of Spain. After a few months I said, 'I think you have the talent here.'
"The problem is to show you have faith and believe. In England, it is the same. One of our challenges in the last four years was to show the English people that the talent exists here."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.