By Dominic Toner

Ossie Ardiles believes that Dele Alli was a “rough diamond” when he first arrived at Tottenham, but has thrived under the guidance of manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The attacking midfielder moved to White Hart Lane in 2015 for £5million and has made a colossal impact in the first team.

He joined in February 2015 from League One club MK Dons, but spent the remainder of the season on loan with them.

Alli is now coming up to two seasons in the Spurs set-up and has become a crucial player for them.

Ardiles admits he has been surprised by the meteoric rise of the 21-year-old and pinpoints Pochettino as a major reason behind his success.

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“When he arrived at Tottenham he was a rough diamond, but Pochettino has made sure he has improved and it has surprised me how much – his improvement has been phenomenal,” Ardiles said, as quoted by the Daily Express.

Alli quickly became a permanent feature in the starting line-up during his first season and managed 10 goals and 11 assists in 46 appearances.

The midfielder was introduced to the England set-up and was involved in the nation’s disappointing Euro 2016 campaign.

He has continued to improve this season and is fast becoming recognised as one of the most exciting young talents in European football.

Alli has made 44 appearances so far this season, scoring 20 goals and supplying 11 assists so far.

He will be hoping to guide Spurs towards their first ever Premier League title, but they must overcome the four-point deficit to leaders Chelsea.

In other Tottenham news, Stan Collymore has predicted the club’s clash against Crystal Palace.

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