Dele Alli can match Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane by leading England to European Championship or World Cup glory, according to former France manager Gerard Houllier.
Alli’s first taste of an international tournament came last year as England were bundled out of Euro 2016 in the last 16 by Iceland.
However, Houllier believes the Tottenham star, who scored 22 goals in 50 club games last term as Spurs finished second in the Premier League, could become the Three Lions’ key man in years to come.
Houllier was part of the France set-up from 1988 to 1997 – in which time Les Bleus built a side that would win the World Cup on home soil in 1998.
And the former Liverpool boss believes The Football Association’s training base St George’s Park offers the perfect platform to build upon, with Alli set to become its crown jewel.
“To me, St George’s Park is a great achievement and you will see the benefit of that in five or ten years’ time,” Houllier told the Express. “We opened Clairefontaine in 1988 – we won the World Cup in 1998.
“But to win something you need to have a good team with an outstanding player. France had Zidane when he was playing. We haven’t won since he stopped.
— Dele (@Dele_Alli) June 8, 2017
“Portugal, who with all due respect are a good-to-average side that work hard, is well-organised and has a good coach… and have Cristiano Ronaldo. That makes a difference.
“For France, Dimitri Payet was not exceptional enough last summer. Maybe in the future we will have Antoine Griezmann.
“Look at the teams that win. Argentina with Diego Maradona. Portugal with Ronaldo. France with Zidane… you need a player like that.
“Even the Champions League final, Juventus and Real Madrid. Who won? The team that had Ronaldo. It is a collective sport where the individual makes the difference.
“You need to have a top, top outstanding player and Alli can be that for England. He is still young, but he is something special.
“England are on the right track. They are developing proper coaches and proper players at some point it will pay off.
“But it will only pay off if they find that bright spark who makes it all happen.”
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