Danny Mills claims that Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli “needs to be protected from himself” after playing so many games at such a young age.

The former Leeds and England defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the attacking star’s recent dip in form is likely due to the fact he has probably not always been 100 per cent fit when playing.

The 23-year-old is already closing in on 300 first-team appearances at club level after bursting onto the scene as a teenager, with another 37 caps for England under his belt.

Mills says that the Spurs maestro has probably been playing when he is not fully fit and that his decision not to rest up is coming back to bite him this season.

Mills told Football Insider: “I think it’s been difficult for Dele Alli, he’s still only 23, played an awful lot of football for a young player and I think he’s played an awful lot of football where he’s been 100 per cent fit.

“That’s almost credit to himself but on the back of that, he needs to be protected from himself at times, taken out of that situation. There was a period at the back end of last season or Christmas time where he didn’t finish 90 minutes for a long spell, a long, long spell. Kept coming off, was rested and came on in games.

“He burst onto the scene and was absolutely exceptional when he went to Tottenham, absolutely outstanding and then started to get injuries, one or two problems started to occur. He might be having a little bit of a lean spell but he will certainly come back.” 

Alli has made just seven appearances across all competitions for the Lilywhites this season, with only two of those coming in a Premier League starting XI.

In other Tottenham news, Alan Hutton has been left raving over a Spurs colossus who is causing Mauricio Pochettino a headache.