Mauricio Pochettino said Dele Alli has matured at Tottenham and he hopes the experience of captaining the team in their shootout win against Watford in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday will help his 22-year-old midfielder to develop further.
Alli served three separate suspensions in 2016 and 2017 for punching West Bromwich Albion's Claudio Yacob, making a horror tackle on Gent's Brecht Dejaegere and aiming an obscene gesture towards teammate Kyle Walker during an international match.
He has also faced accusations of diving, and Pochettino publicly chastised him for attempting to deceive the referee during last September's Premier League victory at Huddersfield.
However, Alli delivered a prematch team talk on his return to Stadium MK, where he played before joining Tottenham, and then led the team out and produced a captain's performance, scoring an equalising penalty in normal time and then the winning spot-kick in the shootout.
"He spoke from the heart [before the match]," said Pochettino, as Tottenham prepare to return to Huddersfield on Saturday. "I can't tell you what he said, but he was very good.
"He is more mature, more experienced. We were all there in his position once. When you are young you do some crazy things -- some more than others.
"He is one of the best in England and one of the best in Europe in his position. He's still so young but of course this type of experience, like being captain for the first time, will help him to improve in all the aspects of his game.
"He was so excited before the game. He was back in his home town and playing at his old stadium. It was fantastic for him. Of course he behaved very well. I think it was his first time as captain.
"I told him being captain means a lot, it's not just about wearing the armband."