So during the last international break, Dele Alli got in ALL SORTS OF BIG FINGER WAGGING TROUBLE for being caught on camera doing this:
Oh noes, how rude! Dele indicated that it was a playful gesture between himself and his good friend Kyle Walker, something Kyle seemed to corroborate on Twitter. Nevertheless, FIFA got a big ol’ bee up their international bonnet and opened an investigation into Alli that could result in a ban.
As silly as Bird-Gate™ is, there is the real chance that FIFA could prevent Dele from being on the pitch for at least one of England’s next two World Cup qualifier matches next week against Slovenia and Lithuania. And if he does, his club manager, Mauricio Pochettino, thinks Gareth Southgate should just send him home.
“I wish that nothing happens and he can play but I am not the person that will decide what will happen with him.
I will decide what happens if he is banned. What will happen is impossible to know. I think if he is banned I would prefer him to stay with us working than to be with the national team.
“Then that is a decision between the FA and us. I have not talked to Gareth Southgate yet. (If he is banned) we will speak.”
I’m with Poch on this one. England will qualify for Russia 2018 if they beat either Slovenia or Lithuania next week. With the threat of injury looming over every international break, what’s the point of Dele even heading off to international duty if he’s not going to be able to play? Better to keep him home, let him rest a bit, train with the rest of the Spurs squad, and keep him fresh.
Spurs have an absolutely brutal stretch of matches coming, with matches against Liverpool, Manchester United, and West Ham sandwiched between two Champions League matches against Real Madrid. It certainly makes sense from a club perspective not to risk injury to one of your best players on international duty if he can’t even play.
Of course, it could all be a moot point if FIFA decides not to act. We’ll find out soon -- FIFA’s disciplinary committee was scheduled to discuss Bird-Gate™ in a meeting today.