Dele Alli is expected to find himself in hot water .

Dele Alli likely to receive harsh punishment for middle finger vs Slovakia

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It's hard to know what to make of Dele Alli's start to the season.

Mauricio Pochettino handed the midfielder a surprise start in the Carabao Cup against Barnsley in a bid to help him rediscover his form.

The 21-year-old may have scored three goals in all competitions so far this term, but he was disappointing in last weekend's goalless draw against Swansea.

As always, Pochettino has also had to manage the starlet's controversial side.

Following his goal against Barnsley, Alli celebrated by cupping his ears. To the fans? To the dugout?

His manager was keen to bat away that speculation, telling a press conference:

"It was a situation which was a reference for a friend. It was a gesture for someone in the stand.

"It's not related to us, with the fans, the club - nothing. It was only a joke with one friend in the stand. That is true, I believe it because yesterday he told me."

Nevertheless, this wasn't the first time the former MK Dons man has got everyone talking with an ill-timed gesture.

Alli's latest slip-up

During England's recent 2-1 win over Slovakia, he was seen making a one-fingered salute, which he later claimed was a joke between him and Kyle Walker.

The Telegraph initially suggested it was aimed at the referee for not giving him enough protection, while Twitter users seemed to think it was at defender Martin Skrtel.

We're prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. It's unlikely FIFA will be so kind, though, as even if the gesture was aimed at Walker, it could still be deemed inappropriate.

The Times report that Gareth Southgate is now bracing himself for a two-game ban to be inflicted on the Spurs man, which means he'll miss out on two key World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia and Lithuania.

England v Slovakia - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier

The Three Lions should get past those opponents anyway, but it's far from ideal to be without one of their key players for such a silly reason.

FIFA will hear Alli's case on Thursday, incidentally the same day Southgate has to announce his squad for the next two games.

The playmaker is already serving one suspension, as he sat out Tottenham's 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund because of a European ban following his red card against Gent in the Europa League last season. When will he learn?

Is Dele Alli's fiery side an important part of his game? Have your say in the comments. 

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