Jack Grealish hailed as "one hell of a player" amid Dele Alli comparisons

Jack Grealish has the same “star quality” as Dele Alli, according to Aston Villa boss Dean Smith.

Smith recalls his former Walsall side facing a precocious young Alli in 2014 when the star broke through at MK Dons in League One.

Alli, 23, has since gone to win 37 England caps and amassed 49 goals and 32 assists in 149 top-flight matches for Spurs after notching seven times this term.

But Smith rates Villa's captain Grealish just as highly and says the attacking talents are both bang in form ahead of Villa hosting Tottenham on Sunday.

It means uncapped Grealish, 24, is now in line for his England debut next month after captaining Villa to the Carabao Cup final.

Grealish has also accumulated seven goals and five assists in the top-flight to inspire promoted Villa's battle against the drop – generating huge interest from Manchester United .

Smith assessed: “They have Dele Alli who is scoring goals. I remember first coming up against Dele Alli when I was manager at Walsall and he was at MK Dons.

“The ability he had at such a young age meant he went straight into a Premier League team and hit the ground running. He showed incredible potential which has continued.

“People have said he had a lean spell earlier this season but he has started scoring again and has always had that quality. We believe Jack Grealish has that star quality as well.

“Jack's ability is there for all to see. It is his first full season in the Premier League this year and he has hit the ground running too. He has carried the responsibility of being captain and an Aston Villa fan forward.

“He looks one hell of a player to everyone right now.”

Grealish's form has generated interest from big clubs with Smith relieved the star is committed for the rest of the season.

"Thankfully the window is shut," he added.

Grealish and the rest of Villa's squad returned to training this week after five-days off in the winter break following the 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth .


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