Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has told the Daily Star that Sir Alex Ferguson predicted that Dele Alli can become one of the best midfielders in Europe.
Hodgson takes his Palace side to take on Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley this afternoon, over a week on from the 2-2 draw with West Ham United, in which the Eagles came from 2-0 down to claim a 2-2 draw.
Palace can expect a much tougher test this afternoon, especially when facing a Spurs side who beat Real Madrid 3-1 in a stunning Champions League victory in midweek.
The hero on Wednesday night as midfielder Dele Alli, who scored a goal in each half to put Spurs 2-0 up, as he plays himself back into form with four goals in his last four games in all competitions.
The 21-year-old, signed from MK Dons in 2015, has emerged as one of English football's top stars, having hit 32 goals in his first two seasons for Tottenham, before enduring an up-and-down start to this term.
Alli appears to be getting back to his best, and Hodgson will be all too familiar with what the Tottenham can do having managed him during his time at England manager, particularly at Euro 2016.
Ahead of today's game against Spurs, Eagles boss Hodgson has revealed to the Daily Star that he spoke to former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson about Alli before Euro 2016, and Ferguson predicted to him that Alli could become one of the best midfielders in Europe – and he is going some way to fulfilling that.
Hodgson added that he thinks Tottenham have already batted away offers for Alli, but hopes that he won't be looking to leave for the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid in the near future.
“I was talking to Sir Alex Ferguson before the Euros and he said this guy (Alli) can be one of the best midfielders in Europe,” said Hodgson. “I don’t like to put pressure on the young man but there’s no doubt he’s at the top. If you talk about the top midfielders in Europe now he would be in the reckoning. And he’s still only 21, hasn’t got 200 games behind him, hasn’t got 50 caps. The more he goes on is when we’ll see him get really better. He’s improving with every game. His ability won’t change it is just the experience that will take even further forward.”
“Would I be surprised if he moved to one of the top European clubs? There will have been offers already. Tottenham won’t want to let him go and it would only be one of the top echelon of clubs who could even consider buying him. But I’m rather hoping when you’re playing at Tottenham the Premier League and earning the sort of money he wouldn’t be looking for such a move. There is no doubt, though, that the Real Madrid’s, Barcelona’s and Bayern Munich's have a big pull. Whether they are better, who knows?” he added.