Scout explains how Liverpool missed the boat on Tottenham star Dele Alli as a

Former Liverpool scout Mel Johnson has explained how Tottenham Hotspur won the race for Dele Alli as a teenager.

The England international officially joined Spurs in the January transfer window almost four years ago but spent the remainder of the 2015/2016 season on loan at MK Dons.

Upon linking up with his teammates at White Hart Lane, Alli quickly developed into one of the best attacking midfielders across the Premier League and has since represented the Three Lions at two major international tournaments.

It’s no secret that Alli grew up idolising Reds legend Steven Gerrard and there were rumours prior to him joining the Lilywhites that they were interested in signing him.

This has now been confirmed by Johnson – the scout behind the deal – and he has revealed that he recommended Alli to the Anfield outfit only for the club’s hierarchy to go in a different direction.

Erik Lamela and Dele Alli

“I went to watch MK Dons against Spurs in a pre-season friendly and he really stood out,” Johnson told PlanetFootball . “He was only 16, but must have been about six-foot and was a real box-to-box player already.

“Dele had an agent who I knew and Gary Waddock, who I’d known for a long time, was MK Dons’ assistant manager – that’s where the networking comes in.

“I put Dele’s name forward to Liverpool, but someone else went to watch him and the rest is history.

“I’d have taken him all day long, but Liverpool’s hierarchy disagreed and he went to Spurs. Damien had left by then and there was a new regime which was computer and stats-led.

“It was a frustrating time for me because, instead of striking while the iron was hot, like Damien with Gareth Bale, they insisted on watching players again and again, until it was too late and another club signed them.”

Liverpool’s loss has certainly been Spurs and Mauricio Pochettino’s gain.

Alli has netted 48 goals in over 150 appearances across all competitions, won two PFA Young Player of the Year awards and recently committed his future to the club by signing a new long-term contract.

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