Mauricio Pochettino has moved to ward England off Dele Alli ahead of the upcoming friendlies against Germany and Holland.
The Spurs boss warned The Three Lions that Alli has been struggling with knee and ankle difficulties in recent weeks.
The timing of Pochettino's revelations is little coincidence, with the two challenging fixtures falling at the end of March.
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Alli has been under strain this season, and it is easy to forget that he is still only 19-years-old. He has also had to make the step up to the Premier League, and so admittedly his body must be eased into action at the top level, though he is at least used to the physical side of the league after learning his trade in the very physical League One with MK Dons.
Club vs. country
England boss Roy Hodgson is no stranger to 'club vs. country' battles. Even if they are only friendlies, Hodgson will want his full complement of players available to avoid embarrassment, particularly against old rivals Germany.
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Alli featured against Spain and France in this seasons earlier friendlies, and scored the first goal in a 2-0 win against Les Bleus.
Under normal circumstances, he should be set to return to the Three Lions setup, but given that he has looked tired for Spurs, it is possible Pochettino will try and intervene to stop him.
The youngster set up Harry Kane for both his goals in the 2-0 win over Aston Villa, but he had needed to be rested for the 1-0 defeat to West Ham.
Alli must prove himself for England
Understandably, if Alli is not at full fitness, Spurs will hope he prioritises their title bid over England’s friendlies. However, he may well want one last chance to prove himself at international level, as he is one of a number of Tottenham players in contention, but not with a guaranteed spot at the Euros.
The Germany and Holland games could therefore also provide an opening for Danny Rose and Eric Dier, who may just miss out on this summer’s squad. It may be a tournament too early for Dier, while Rose faces missing out if Manchester United’s Luke Shaw makes a full recovery from his injury, despite barely having played this season.
England will have to fight for access to their players, with the top clubs reluctant to release them amidst one of the tightest seasons in decades.
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