Dele Alli is no “one or two-season wonder”, says Jamie Redknapp, with the Tottenham star still considered to be on a par with Premier League legends Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
There were few arguments against such a claim when the MK Dons academy graduate first arrived in north London and made a seamless transition to life in the English top-flight.
Alli quickly established a reputation as one of the most productive goal-getting midfielders in the country, earning him a prominent role with Spurs and England.
The 23-year-old has regressed over recent years, with only seven goals recorded across all competitions last season, but Redknapp says a sense of perspective is required when judging his recent displays.
The former Tottenham man told the Daily Mail after seeing Alli open his account for 2019-20 in a 1-1 draw with Watford: “Dele Alli does not turn 24 years old for another six months, yet this kid is already ahead of the rest when you think of those who graced England's midfield before him.
“Frank Lampard, for example, played 185 Premier League games before turning 24. In those, he managed 43 goals or assists. Steven Gerrard played 170 and got to 47. David Beckham played in 140 and got to 65. All great players, all big names.
“On Saturday, Alli appeared in his 133rd game. Amid all the VAR chaos at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, it felt like we forgot who scored Spurs' equaliser against Watford.
“It was Alli, stylishly putting the ball into the back of the net for the 43rd time in his career. Add those to his 29 assists, and he has been involved in 72 goals in the top flight.
“All those giving Alli stick for his form of late should bear that in mind. There seem to be a lot of short memories out there.
“Not so long ago, this was one of Europe's most highly-rated midfield talents, being linked with the likes of Real Madrid. He should not be written off, like some sort of one or two-season wonder.”
Redknapp added: “Too many have been quick to judge Alli and I hope Saturday can be the start of him showing us what he is all about.
“He should be walking into Tottenham's training ground on Monday morning with a swagger about him, feeling ready to get to work.
“Gareth Southgate leaving him out of his latest England squad, for the games against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, may have given him a kick up the backside, too.”
Alli will be aware that he needs to raise his game in order to earn a recall with the Three Lions, with there fierce competition for places in the England midfield.
The likes of Ross Barkley and Mason Mount have been favoured in No.10 roles, with James Maddison another expected to remain in the mix after impressing for Leicester.