Arsenal legend Ray Parlour called for Lucas Moura to start in Madrid after his hat-trick against Ajax in the semi-final
Dele Alli has, by his own metroric standards, had a rather quiet season.
After scoring seven goals and eight assists in all competitions, it is unlikely the Tottenham Hotspur midfield will look back on his campaign with much delight.
However, the 23-year-old has helped Spurs reach the Champions League Final and secured a Top Four finish in the Premier League.
But given his injury struggles this season and his lack of game time, Arsenal legend Ray Parlour has suggested semi-final ht-trick hero Lucas Moura deserves to start in Madrid ahead of Dele.
“He (Pochettino) can’t leave Moura out [of the Champions League final] after he scored a hat-trick,” Parlour said on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.
“I would feel a little bit hard done by, I’ve just scored a hat-trick away from home to get Tottenham through to the final and you leave him out.
“It would be a disgrace if they leave him out because to score a hat-trick in a game as important as it was at Ajax, you can’t leave him out. You have to leave Dele [Alli] out.”
Given the England international’s obvious talent, many managers would be loathe to leave out such an influential player for such a huge game.
Take, for instance, Gareth Southgate’s reluctance to leave the attacking midfielder on the bench at the World Cup.
Despite suffering a quadriceps injury in the first half of the first group game, Dele played a huge part in the Three Lions’ journey to the semi-final in Russia.
So would Pochettino be making a mistake by leaving the former MK Dons star out of the starting XI for the Champions League Final?
Given Moura’s spectacular form this season and the fact Pochettino played with three at the back at Anfield, it is not beyond the realms of possibility to suggest Dele could start from the bench.
Here at talkSPORT.com, Parlour’s comments got us thinking about just how important the midfielder is to Spurs according to statistics.
As you can see below, we calculated Tottenham’s win percentage with Dele in the side and without him.
Should Spurs drop Dele for the Champions League final?
Played – 20
Won – 11
Drawn – 2
Win percentage – 55 per cent
Played – 37
Won – 23
Drawn – 2
Lost – 11
Win percentage – 62 per cent
Put simply, Spurs have won more games this season in all competitions with Dele Alli in the side.
Given how dangerous he is in front of goal and the way he drifts harmlessly into space before striking, it could perhaps be argued his presence is enough to have an impact on opposition defenders.
By trying to contain the midfielder, defences can perhaps be drawn to Dele and thus gift spaces to his teammates to exploit.
When coming up against a defence as solid as Liverpool’s, Pochettino could well call upon the midfielder’s subtlety and clinical nature to bring home the European trophy.