Although Alli’s form has picked up under Jose Mourinho for Spurs, his influence this season pales in comparison to that of Jack Grealish for Villa.
Villa’s number ten has been unplayable at times this season, with his performance in the EFL Cup semi-final victory over Leicester City bordering on world-class.
And Smith, who remembers watching Alli explode onto the scene at MK Dons, believes there is a comparison to be drawn between two wonderfully talented attacking midfielders.
“The ability (Alli) had at such a young age meant he went straight into the Premier League and hit the ground running,” Dean said. “He showed incredible potential, which has continued.
“We believe Jack Grealish has that star quality as well. Jack’s ability is there for all to see. It’s his first season in the Premier League this year and he’s hit the ground running.
“He looks one hell of a player to everyone right now. He has carried the responsibility of being the captain and an Aston Villa fan forward.”