In a recent interview (via The Daily Mail) following Aston Villa‘s impressive 3-0 victory against Arsenal last weekend, Dean Smith heaped high praise on Ross Barkley, who is currently playing on loan from Chelsea. Smith labelled the English midfielder as a ‘gifted footballer’ and had words of encouragement for his partnership with Jack Grealish this season as he said, ‘Good players, they can play with each other very quickly – they don’t need time to work each other out.
‘We are seeing that with Jack and Ross, both technically gifted footballers but have the work rate as well.
‘Ross was a marquee signing for us, he wanted to get game time to get in the Euro squad. His performances will be nudging Gareth Southgate.’
Barkley’s Dream Start To His Loan Spell At Villa Park
Barkley has made a dream start to his loan spell with Dean Smith’s side after producing a couple of productive displays for them during this campaign. The Liverpool-born midfield ace has scored two goals and provided one assist in five matches for the Villans this term across all fronts.
The 26-year-old has been a breath of fresh air while operating as an attacking midfielder in Smith’s first XI. He has done remarkably well to average 3.4 shots, 3.0 key passes and 2.2 dribbles per game in the Premier League this season. The 33-time England international has also been careful when distributing possession in the attacking half after completing 83.2% of his attempted passes in league football (stats via whoscored).
Barkley has found a way to rediscover himself at Villa Park and seems to be getting better with each game. The early signs have been quite promising from him, but there is still a long way to go in this campaign, so only time will tell whether he can sustain his good form and secure a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for next year’s UEFA European Championship finals.
What Are The English Midfielder’s Greatest Strengths?
Barkley excels at making some energetic runs with the ball towards the opponent’s penalty box. He has got the vision to play a decisive pass in the final third and is a decent goal-scorer himself from midfield. The English playmaker has enjoyed playing in the number ten position in Smith’s 4-2-3-1 formation as he loves to express himself in the opposition half. He can even strike the ball with power and precision, which makes him a potent goal-threat from long range.
Should Smith Sign Barkley Permanently Next Summer?
If Barkley can maintain his high standards throughout this campaign, then Smith would be wise to orchestrate a move to land him permanently from Chelsea next summer. The England international has been instrumental behind Aston Villa’s recent resurgence in the Premier League, but it remains to be seen whether he can help the Villans clinch a top-half finish at the end of this season.