Spurs boss thinks it would be ridiculous if the England star is rapped for flipping the bird at Kyle Walker vs Slovakia
MAURICIO POCHETTINO says if Fifa punish Dele Alli over “Digit-gate” then they will also have to throw the book at Mr Bean!
England ace Dele could face a rap after cameras caught him flipping the bird at team-mate Kyle Walker during Monday’s 2-1 win over Slovakia.
Former Spurs pal Walker, who joined Manchester City for £50million in the summer, responded the next day by tweeting a message to him — along with a clip from the Mr Bean film which showed Rowan Atkinson’s comedy character making rude gestures to passers-by as he drove along Sunset Boulevard.
While Dele’s middle finger faux pas was clearly intended as banter, it would be no laughing matter for England if it earned him a ban.
But Spurs chief Pochettino said: “It was a joke in a moment between two team-mates. It was not a great gesture but I hope Fifa do not make a big issue out of it.
“Maybe the headlines are because it’s Dele and something happens. And he’s English. But it’s not a big issue.
“He was joking. Look at Mr Bean — all the people laugh about that. And Dele was joking with Kyle Walker.
“Come on, if Dele gets punished we would need to censor Mr Bean, too.”
It was not the first time the cameras have captured Dele committing a controversial act.
He was banned for three matches at the end of the 2015-16 campaign after being caught slyly punching West Brom midfielder Claudio Yacob.
Former Argentina defender Pochettino, whose playing career in the 1990s and early 2000s took in Newell’s Old Boys, Espanyol and Paris Saint-Germain, said: “Are there too many cameras at matches now? Yes. But that is the era today in football.
“In my period, it was one in the middle and two more behind the goals.
“Had the number of cameras there are now at matches been there when I was playing, they would have caught me doing a lot worse.
“I remember one day I was playing for Newell’s Old Boys, a striker spat at me and it went all in my mouth.
“Not one camera saw that. My reaction was to throw a punch and I touched him. But just before the moment of contact, the ref said ‘Oi’ and so it was not with power.
“The referee said to me ‘Little kids will say ‘What are you doing?’ What the f***?’. I said, ‘Sorry, sorry’. The referee said ‘You and you, yellow cards’.”
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Asked for the name of the spitting striker, Poch joked: “Sorry, I can’t tell you because I killed him afterwards!”
But Poch is adamant Dele’s behaviour is getting better.
He said: “There is nothing wrong from Dele. I am so happy with him. His behaviour is improving a lot.”
Meanwhile, Erik Lamela is set to return to full training at Tottenham next month — after 11 months out with a virus and then back and hip problems.
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