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26th Apr, 2017 | 4:11pm

Pochettino: Tottenham fell in love with this star after watching him for the first time

By Matt Farr

Mauricio Pochettino has revealed Tottenham ‘were in love’ with Dele Alli after watching him in action for the first time.

The Tottenham chief snapped up Alli in a deal worth a paltry £5million in 2015, but he has since seen his value sky-rocket after becoming a key figure at White Hart Lane.

Alli, 21, has accumulated a stunning 20 goals and 11 assists from 44 appearances in all competitions this season, becoming a personal favourite of Pochettino.

But Pochettino has admitted that the club had immediately fallen ‘in love’ with the midfield sensation having been urged to watch him in action for MK Dons in 2014.

He told the Standard: “Dele Alli was a player I had been following since I was at Southampton.

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“Soon after I joined Tottenham, I went to watch the game between MK Dons and Manchester United in the Capital One Cup in August 2014.

“Dele was 18 at the time and played as a holding midfielder. After watching him, we were in love.”

Following his move to Tottenham, Alli has been pushed away from his traditional role as a holding midfielder, and has thrived with more attacking freedom.

The youngster has proven to be one of the best attacking midfielders in the Premier League, if not Europe, and his stunning displays for the club this season have put Tottenham in contention for the title.

Alli has registered either a goal or an assist (or both) in each of his last seven Premier League appearances, as Tottenham remain unbeaten in the division since the defeat to Liverpool on February 11.

In other Tottenham news, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has responded to reported interest in Alli, and offered this advice to Pochettino.

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