When he returned to Sheffield United for his third spell at his boyhood club, he chose the No.10 shirt in honour of his idol and freely admits Deane is the reason he wanted to be a footballer in the first place.
And for Deane, the respect is mutual.
"Usually, when someone comes after you and they're emulating you, you can get a bit of rivalry," Deane told The Star.
"But Billy has always had such respect and I love watching him, because of his movement in the box.
"He's so smart. His movement and finishing is really on another level to what I've seen around, especially in the Championship.
"It's a real shame that he didn't ever really get the opportunity right at the top level. Because when you have movement like that, it causes real problems. No matter who you are.
"When you play at the very top level, the defending tightens up a lot and people don't realise that you also spend less time attacking.
"So there are less scraps to feed on. In order to make chances you need the ball. But if you're playing better players, you have less of it."
Sharp, for his part, sees Deane as the greatest striker in United's history but both are bona fide legends at the Lane - sealing their respective places in Blades folklore wearing the iconic No.10 shirt also donned with such aplomb by the great Tony Currie.
Now 36, Sharp scored 15 goals in an injury-disrupted last season to help United reach the Championship play-offs and earn a one-year contract extension at Bramall Lane.
"Billy's work rate is undervalued and he's a great leader for the team," Deane continued.
"But you know he's a quality finisher because he's still scoring all of these goals.
"When I got to 35 or 36 I didn't have as much of an impact.
"It's different eras and it's not good to compare, but it's good that Sheffield United have had three iconic players who have all played in the same shirt.
"I pity whoever takes the 10 on after Billy, because it'll be a heavy load."