Oh dear, we have another media-driven controversy at Tottenham Hotspur. In the minutes after Dele Alli started on the bench during Spurs’ 2-0 home win over Brighton, the media narrative was all about Dele’s “snubbing” and whether it might be another crack in the armor between Pochettino and his tight-knit group of young stars.
So when asked about whether Dele was unhappy to miss the match, Poch fired right back and said: you bet he was unhappy! But not for the reasons you think.
"Alli was on the bench and then played 20 minutes. He's an important player for us. How do other players react when they are on the bench?
"Sure they are unhappy. No one is happy. Everyone on the bench wanted to play.
He’s got a point. OK, fine, Dele’s been starting pretty much every league game for at least the last season (barring injury), and also fine, he hasn’t exactly been at his best the past couple of months. But you have to think that benching Dele for Lamela had as much to do with a) Erik Lamela coming back and b) playing Brighton in a midweek league game just before a massive trip to Manchester City than it did for any possible “rift” between Poch and Dele.
Professional football players want to play. They’re competitive like that. And this reminds me a lot of the Danny Rose substitution thing from a little while ago that also turned out to be much ado about little. Oh noes, Dele Alli didn’t start a game, let’s link him to Real Madrid!
Frankly, as Spurs fans we should probably be HAPPY that Dele got a little mid-week breather ahead of a huge match and in the middle of a busy holiday fixture period that will stretch every single first team regular’s fitness. Dele being peeved that he didn’t play probably tells us more about his hunger for the game than it does about player-management relationships at Tottenham Hotspur.