Dele Alli was left out of the Tottenham squad that faced Southampton on Sunday, news that reportedly left his teammates stunned.
Now that Gareth Bale has rejoined the club he left in 2013 after signing on loan from Real Madrid, Alli's playing time at Spurs could be limited - especially if the Welshman can get fully fit and firing again.
It's the classic José Mourinho tactic. He isolates one of the team's biggest names in hope that the player will respond positively and thus be motivated to perform to a better standard come matchday. Mourinho will then be praised for having faith in a man that supposedly caused issues in the dressing room.
That's what he has always done and that's what he's doing with Dele right now. But why should the England international bother going toe-to-toe with Mourinho in this mind game? Perhaps he should take matters into his own hands and look to play under a manager who will play to his strengths.
Look at the situation with Paul Pogba when Mourinho was at United. That matter ended up looking pretty ridiculous for both player and manager.
Tense exchange after tense exchange brought the club into disrepute and the situation certainly didn't motivate Pogba to perform either - a failed experiment that time on Mourinho's part. Dele should be reminded of this before he inevitably bites at one of his manager's comments, a move that could further damage his reputation and embarrass the club.
We know he has tremendous ability. If he didn't, Mourinho wouldn't be targetting him.
But Dele can't magically find his form from his living room. He needs to be playing regular minutes under a manager that has full faith in what he can do. That's why he was so successful when he first arrived - because of trust. Mauricio Pochettino believed in a then-relatively unknown youngster from Milton Keynes Dons and he repaid that faith
When a player scores 18 goals in the Premier League from midfield at the age of just 21, you know he has the potential to be a world beater. Inconsistency can kick in though and in truth, Dele has lost his way a bit. However, the right manager can definitely find the Dele of old - a phrase that sounds remarkably strange to say when he is still only 24.
So where could he go? That's one for the rumour mill at the at the moment but it's no surprise that he is being touted with a move to the world's biggest clubs.
The reality is that it is the right time for Dele to leave. With so many years still ahead of him, he has so much time to reignite his career elsewhere. He just needs an inspirational motivator by his side who'll get the best out of him. Unfortunately for Spurs fans, that man's not going to be Mourinho.
Source : 90min