Gabby Agbonlahor has urged Aston Villa to axe Ross Barkley for their home game versus Leicester City in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking to Football Insider, the former AVFC and England international striker has claimed that Morgan Sanson would be a better option for Dean Smith in the middle of the park as he is more defensively-minded amid the threat that Brendan Rodgers’ team poses in attack:
“I think Dean Smith will want to persist with Barkley.
“I think this next game against Leicester is the type of game that will suit Sanson, he’s not as attacking as Barkley.
“Leicester are a dangerous team and this game is going to be about which team gets their tactics right, that team will win the game.
“Leicester can mix it up and play very defensively sometimes and on the counter-attack. I think for this game Villa need to change their tactics and go more defensive.
“Smith can’t leave any space in behind for Jamie Vardy to run into. So maybe it’s a game that doesn’t suit Barkley.
“He’s has been outstanding since coming to Aston Villa but in recent games, I’ve been disappointed with him.
“The Barkley I know, the Barkley that everyone has known for the last five or six years, takes people on with speed. I haven’t seen that in recent weeks which is disappointing. It’s probably fair that Sanson gets a chance now.”
May be an opportunity for Sanson
The match against the Foxes may be an opportunity for Sanson to show as to why Villa brought him in in the January transfer window.
The central midfield player is more defensively-minded than Barkley as Agbonlahor has claimed, averaging more tackles (1.8) and interceptions (0.8) than the Chelsea loanee while he was playing for Marseille earlier on in the 2020/21 term (Whoscored).
Should Aston Villa start Barkley?
While the £17.5m-rated Barkley does offer an attacking threat, the Midlands club need to be particularly cautious against a side that is trying to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for next season, and playing Sanson ahead of the 27-year-old may well be a smart move to take by Smith.
He is currently going through a bit of a dry spell at this particular moment in time with no goals or assists in his last three matches in the top flight, and so a it may be a wise idea to leave the Englishman on the bench in place of Sanson and thus take him out of the firing line.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience