Southgate's comments suggest how far Tottenham's Dier and Alli have come this season

The Tottenham Hotspur duo were not in Roy Hodgson's plans at the start of the season, but how quickly things change.

In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, England under-21 coach Gareth Southgate spoke about the young players Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson had earmarked for a senior role even before a ball was kicked this season.

But the absence of two of this season’s most impressive young performers shows just how far they have come; those players being Tottenham Hotspur duo Eric Dier and Dele Alli.

“From conversations with Roy at the beginning of this campaign it was clear Luke Shaw, John Stones and Raheem (Sterling) were going to be with Roy from the start,” Southgate told the Daily Mail.

So no Dier then…and certainly no Alli, who few would have expected would seize his opportunity to impress at White Hart Lane quite so emphatically.

Much of that is down to Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, who showed faith in 19-year-old Alli where other managers would have started him in the under-21s and bedded him in slowly.

Similarly he opted to play Dier in defensive midfield despite Spurs fans knowing him more as a defender, and in both cases the results have been brilliant.

Tottenham have some of the most exciting young English talent in the game and the fact that Hodgson has been unable to ignore Dier and Alli despite the abundance of more experienced players in the division speaks volumes.

Hodgson may not have known it back in September, but the young Tottenham pair are well on the way to becoming stars for both club and country.

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