McClaren responds when asked about Newcastle's failed bid for Tottenham teenager Dele Alli

Steve McClaren

Tottenham's Dele Alli is set to face Newcastle United today.

Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren has told The Sun that he isn't totally sure what happened when the Magpies attempted to sign Dele Alli.

McClaren takes his Magpies side down to North London this afternoon, and he's searching for a second straight win having seen his side stun everybody with a 2-0 victory over Liverpool last weekend.

It's a daunting task to take on Tottenham in this form, considering that they are currently on a superb 14-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, putting them right in contention with the top four places.

One of the keys to their success has been teenage midfielder Dele Alli, who has made a remarkable impact in the Premier League after joining Spurs over the summer.

The 19-year-old initially signed for Spurs on deadline day back in February, but Tottenham allowed him to stay with MK Dons on loan until the end of the season before starting his White Hart Lane career - and it couldn't have gone much better so far.

Alli has become a regular under Mauricio Pochettino so far this season, and he's even earned his first England caps, with a stunning long-range strike against France at Wembley capping off a sensational rise to prominence.

It could have been so different for Alli though, as back in January, it was widely reported that he was set to sign for Newcastle, as reported by the Daily Mail - only for Tottenham to swoop in at the last minute and gazump their Premier League rivals.

Today, Alli takes on the club he almost signed for, and whilst Magpies boss McClaren hailed the player, he tried not to get too involved when asked about how Newcastle missed out on Alli's signature.

"I didn’t hear about what happened in January but I knew he was a good player," said McClaren. "I watched him when I was at Derby and he was at MK Dons. We talked about trying to get him. He’s really surprised everybody. And then he made his debut for England — wow," he added.

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