?Mauricio Pochettino has questioned the absence of Dele Alli on the PFA’s shortlist for this season’s Player of the Year award.
The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was a surprise absentee among the nominees on Thursday morning, despite his impressive haul of 16 goals in 30 appearances in the Premier League this term, and Pochettino was at a loss to explain why when asked by the ?London Evening Standard.
Dele’s Spurs teammate Harry Kane made the shortlist, and the striker is joined by Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante, Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez in the stakes for the end of season gong.
Speaking to the press ahead of his side’s league clash with Bournemouth on Saturday, Pochettino queried why the 21-year-old had not been included ahead of other players who were selected.
He said: “There are better players now and it’s a better standard. In my opinion he deserved a place in the shortlist.
“After his first season people wanted to him perform again in his second season. He’s not only confirmed that he’s improved in all aspects in his game. He’s clever and intelligent. He has the potential to improve and learn. Today he’s shown he’s one of the best players in the Premier League.”
No midfielder has found the back of the net on more occasions than Dele in 2016/17 and, after a stuttering start to the season in front of goal, the England international has plundered a sensational 13 goals in England’s top flight since December 18.
Dele was the deserving winner of last season’s Young Player of the Year award after the ex-MK Dons starlet wowed football fans and critics up and down the country for taking the Premier League by storm in his maiden campaign.
Despite not being nominated for the senior award, Dele is up for the 2016/17 Young Player of the Year award alongside Kane, Lukaku, Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford, Burnley defender Michael Keane and Manchester City winger Leroy Sane.
Read more from Tom Power by following him on Twitter!