Last season MK Dons’ campaign took place against a backdrop of steadily rising hype surrounding the exploits of teenager midfielder Bamidele ‘Dele’ Alli.
Having made seven appearances for Karl Robinson’s men during the preceding season Alli, who remains just 18 years old, played 37 times for the Buckinghamshire outfit last term.
At his best when deployed in a box-to-box role, the England Under-19 international’s full-blooded performances earned him comparisons to Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, his boyhood idol.
He’s also a wholehearted tackler on occasions, such as playing for the young Lions against Germany, when required to play as the most defensive man in a midfield three.
It was arguably a hat-trick against Notts County in March that really brought him to the attention of the wider footballing public, with Liverpool and FC Bayern Munchen the calibre of sides credited with an interest.
He finished the season with five goals and an assist in league action, but how has he been chowing down upon the bread and butter of League One ball since then?
Evidently very well thank you very much, if the fact that the aforementioned hauls are exceeded and equalled respectively a mere eight games into the Dons’ latest assault on the third tier has anything to do with it.
Alli has helped himself to six strikes and a set up thus far in an MK side that occupy second spot in the division, bagging a hat-trick against Crewe last time out to celebrate signing a new deal at Stadium mk that few within the club will expect him to honour in its entirety.
Indeed it has been suggested that he might assist the second half of the club’s 9/1-rated League One title bid having been purchased and loaned back by a European heavyweight in the January window.
Yet there is still a long way to go as the youngster himself humbly and possibly inadvertently suggested in the wake of the Dons’ Capital One Cup win over a second-string Manchester United:
“I wasn’t fazed against United. We were up against Anderson, [Adnan] Januzaj and [Nick] Powell. That three was the best midfield I’ve played against; their movement was a lot sharper than anyone I’ve come up against so far.