LONDON, April 26 – Dele Alli could be banned for Tottenham’s title run-in after appearing to throw an off the ball punch at Claudio Yacob.
The incident, which was captured by TV cameras, took place in the first half inside the Spurs penalty area. Footage appears to show Alli aim a punch into the West Bromwich Albion midfielder’s midriff.
However, referee Mike Jones missed the incident but Alli could still face retrospective action from the FA.
This leaves Alli facing a violent conduct charge, which could see the midfielder issued a three match suspension – ruling him out of Tottenham’s final games.
Sportsmail’s Jamie Carragher, speaking during his post-match analysis on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, believes the incident will be a learning curve for the youngster.
‘You like the fact that he’s got something about him. If you remember what Ledley King said about him having a “healthy disrespect” for senior professionals,’ he said.
‘That’s exactly what Yacob is, he’s a lot older and a lot more experienced. From the start he (Yacob) had wound him up; his job was to stop Alli.
‘Fair play to Yacob because he carries on but he’s very fortunate the referee hasn’t seen that clearly.
‘These are the types of situations Wayne Rooney was involved in, he was a similar type of character. He wanted to be involved in things, he is very competitive.
‘It’s going to be a massive learning curve for him. Situations like that, especially next season when they play in the Champions League going away from home with foreign referees, will happen.’
And Graeme Souness, speaking alongside former Liverpool defender Carragher on Monday night, was of a similar belief.
He said: ‘It’s just a flick, it’s petulance. He’s not going to hurt anyone doing it. He has got that in him and for him to become a top, top player he needs to retain that.
‘He’s at the very bottom of what hopefully is a big, big learning curve for him. He will get sent off, I said that before the game he’s got that in him which makes him the player he’s going to be.
‘People will look at him and will want to rough him up. As a young man full of testosterone he wants to go chest-to-chest with people. He’s got to rise above that, he has so much ability and so much athleticism let the referee deal with anyone that wants to rough him up.’
It’s not the first time Alli has been courted in controversy for an off-the-ball incident this season after he appeared to kick Fiorentina’s Nenad Tomovic during a Europa League match in February.
The former MK Dons star was lucky to escape with a yellow card for lashing out at the defender in the first half of the last-32 tie.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino said he would review the video of the incident and talk to Alli, who has had an exceptional season but has already accumulated 11 yellow cards in all competitions.
He was also accused of kneeing French midfielder Yohan Cabaye in the head by Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew in January.
Alli is expected to star for England at the European Championship in France this summer but the latest incident will undoubtedly raise eyebrows over his behaviour on the pitch.