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Gerard Houllier: 'Dele Alli can be England's Zinedine Zidane'

Former France boss Gerard Houllier believes that Dele Alli can have a similar impact at international level to the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Former France manager Gerard Houllier has claimed that Dele Alli could be the player to inspire England to success at major tournaments in the future.

The 21-year-old Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has established himself as a key player for club and country over the past two seasons, scoring 22 goals in 50 appearances for Spurs last term and two in 18 caps for England since his 2015 debut.

Houllier believes that the youngster could prove to be a "special" player and tipped him to have a similar impact on his country's fortunes to the ones Zinedine Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Maradona have had in the past.

"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. 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," Houllier told The Express.

"For France, Dimitri Payet was not exceptional enough last summer. Maybe in 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."

Alli scored his first England goal against France in November 2015, and the two sides will face off again at the Stade de France this evening.

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Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli following their 1-0 defeat to West Ham United on May 5, 2017
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