Gabby Agbonlahor has claimed that Dean Smith may axe Ross Barkley from the starting XI when Aston Villa take on Brighton and Hove Albion.
The player currently on loan from Chelsea reacted rather angrily to being taken off against Arsenal in their 1-0 home win last Saturday lunchtime, as he kicked a water bottle before taking his seat on the bench.
Should Aston Villa start Barkley?
When asked if he could see anybody being rested or rotated against Graham Potter’s men on the weekend, the former AVFC and England international striker told Football Insider:
“The only person I can see being rotated is maybe Barkley. He’s been OK since he’s come back from injury and he got the goal against Southampton.
“But I think he might rotate him. Brighton are a very attacking team and a very dangerous team at home.
“You never know, he might decide to play Luiz, John McGinn and Nakamba all in midfield – we don’t know what he’s thinking.
“He might want to rotate Barkley and Anwar El Ghazi or Trezeguet or Morgan Sanson could come in. There’s a lot of options for him.
“I don’t think anybody would say anything if you give Barkley a game’s rest.”
Barkley may pay for angry reaction
Barkley may pay for his angry reaction to being substituted last time out in the Premier League by being omitted from the starting line-up this time out against the Seagulls.
Villa have plenty of players who can play in that central attacking midfield role instead, as Jack Grealish may well be moved off of the left into the centre with a winger such as Anwar El Ghazi taking his place out in his position.
However, Barkley has performed very well since making the move to the Midlands club, with Smith even going as far as to describe him as a ‘marquee‘ signing after a star display in their 3-0 away win at the Emirates Stadium back in November.
The 27-year-old has scored three goals and made one assist in 12 games in the top flight so far in the 2020/21 term (Transfermarkt), and will be hoping to add to his total, whether that would be from the start or off of the bench, against Brighton.
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