At the tender age of 17, MK Dons starlet Dele Alli is reportedly getting interest from some Premier League heavyweights. That would appear to include Liverpool.
Brendan Rodgers was in attendance Saturday, Jan. 4 to watch MK Dons draw 3-3 with Wigan Athletic at DW Stadium.
The Times' Rory Smith reported that Rodgers was there to watch Alli:
Penalty missed. MK Dons on top, though. Dele Alli, 17, hugely impressive. Brendan Rodgers here watching him. #LFC— Rory Smith (@RorySmithTimes) January 4, 2014
The Daily Mail Online's Simon Jones also passed along this post-match quote from Dons manager Karl Robinson:
I know Brendan quite well and we speak about different players all the time. I don't know the reason why he was at the game but Dele is special.
You will have seen him do some silly things because he is 17 years of age but he produced some bits of magic and you don't see many of them playing in an FA Cup third-round tie against a very good Wigan side and not look out of place.
Alli is an attacking midfielder with a bright future. He still has to put some meat on his bones to handle the consistent physicality of competition like that of the Premier League, but he has the skills to succeed.
Rodgers had to have been impressed with what he saw while watching Alli take on Wigan. Both Smith and Robinson were quick to heap praise on the youngster for his mature effort. That is even more impressive considering he was helping lead a side which had eight players aged 22 or under.
Alli possess the kind of talent to pull off what shouldn't be possible. Check out his goal from the below highlight around the 47-second mark:
Still, it is important to keep in mind just how untested he is. As Transfermarkt.co.uk notes, Alli has made just six League One starts.
Alli missed some time with a short-term injury in October, but other than that, it haI remos been smooth sailing as he progresses on in his budding career that saw him earn a favorable reputation while featuring for England's U-17 team.
Development is never guaranteed, but Alli has the potential to become a cornerstone player for Liverpool, and Rodgers has shown great success bringing along young talent.
In just the last 18 months, Liverpool have seen youngsters like Raheem Sterling, Jon Flanagan, Jordon Ibe and Andre Wisdom excel in Liverpool's lineup. Rodgers has also been aggressive in adding young talent in transfers with Luis Alberto, Tiago Ilori, Samed Yesil and Philippe Coutinho—all being added to the Liverpool books.
Alli is younger than all of these guys, but his talent dictates that a club begin to move on him.
The Reds' acquisition of Alli isn't one that would help them capture the Premier League crown this season, but he can develop in Liverpool's youth ranks, and Rodgers can bring him into the lineup as he has with other young talents.
Although there is a chance that Alli will never develop into a Premier League threat, his potential makes up for the gamble.