Things have gone quite well in the first month of the season for Ross Barkley at Aston Villa. Unable to carve out regular opportunities at Stamford Bridge since his arrival in January 2018, the 26-year-old has immediately become a central figure in Villa’s efforts to avoid another relegation battle like last season.
Beyond his play on the pitch and the two goals he’s scored already, including the 90th-minute winner against Leicester City that kept Villa a perfect four-for-four in the league, Barkley has also had a positive effect in the team’s dressing room. According to Villa manager Dean Smith, Barkley’s experience in the Champions League and at international level is providing an extra boost to the likes of Jack Grealish, and the fans as well.
“He has made a big impact, even just in the dressing room. That fact that we have been able to entice that calibre of player into the club has gone down well in the dressing room, with our staff and fans as well.
“He is a top player who has been in and amongst the Champions League in the last three or four years and has been a regular starter for England. His job now is to do well with Villa.”
Speaking of the national team, it’s been a full year since Barkley was last called up by Gareth Southgate to join the England squad, but surely, if the former Great Big English Hope keeps up these performances, he will be back in the frame for next summer’s European Championships.
“I’m sure Gareth Southgate will be watching and will be quite pleased he is playing regularly in the Premier League. That is what he felt he needed to do to get re-noticed. We are giving him the platform to do that.”
Barkley’s success has already started rumors about Villa turning his loan into a more permanent move before the end of the season, but Smith isn’t worried about such considerations just yet. It is far too early for these things anyway.
“[A permanent deal for Barkley is] nothing that has been talked about, our discussions were only for the end of the season.”
-Dean Smith; source: Sky Sports
Barkley will have two more years left on his Chelsea contract after this season, so he’s unlikely to go for cheap, especially if he has a great season. Time to start saving up, Villa!