Former Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has labelled midfielder Ross Barkley’s time at the club a ‘massive disappointment’.
Barkley, 27, joined the Villans on a season-long loan from Chelsea back in September past year. His debut could not have gone any better.
The England midfielder scored once as the West Midlanders beat champions Liverpool 7-2 on October 4. However, injury struck in November and the former Everton man was out of action until late January.
He has not been the same player since his return and continues to struggle at Villa Park. Manager Dean Smith benched him for Villa’s 1-0 victory over Leeds United at the end of February.
And Sherwood has now had his say on the player and believes he has taken a step back.
“Ross Barkley has been a massive disappointment to me,” he told Optus Sport on Premier League Productions. “He went in and he was brilliant. He took the onus off Jack (Grealish) and they (the opposition) had somebody else to worry about.”
Barkley has slipped down the Chelsea pecking order in recent years, prompting the loan spell away from Stamford Bridge. It remains to be seen if he has a future under Thomas Tuchel when he returns to west London next season.
The Liverpool-born star has played 33 times for England. But, with so many talented attacking midfielders around, Gareth Southgate has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal.
He was not selected for upcoming World Cup qualifiers and needs a strong end to the campaign to play in Euro 2020.
Sherwood impressed with others, not Barkley
Villa are comfortably in mid table, with 41 points from 27 games played. They have won 12 games and possibly punched above their weight this term.
“The likes of Traore and El Ghazi,” he added. “They have to come to the party a little bit. McGinn’s not really a creative influence and Douglas Luiz in the midfield areas.
“They brought Sanson in from Marseille. A good midfield player. But he’s not going to open with an eye of a needle pass.”
Villa take on Tottenham on Sunday evening looking for just their second win since beating Arsenal on February 6. They drew 1-1 with Newcastle last time out as Jamaal Lascelles equalised for the Magpies deep into stoppage time.