Aston Villa midfielder Ross Barkley has admitted that he was surprised by his new teammates at Villa Park.
The 26-year-old has made an instant impact at his new home and has helped Dean Smith’s side to a perfect start to the season after their first four games.
From those outings, Barkley has scored two goals – one during their sensational 7-2 victory over the reigning Premier League champions Liverpool, and a dramatic late winner against Leicester City in their last game which leaves them second in the table.
A win against Leeds United tonight would send the Villains top of the table heading into the weekend, which is a vast improvement considering they only just avoided relegation at the end of last season.
Barkley spoke to The Guardian about what his initial impression to life in the Midlands as opposed to the hustle and bustle of London, stating that he perhaps underestimated Smith’s squad.
“I’ve been surprised by the quality of the group of players, to be honest, for how low they finished last season,”
“There are some really great players in the squad. Another thing I’ve noticed is that there are a lot of great communicators.”
Building blocks for Villa success
As far as Villa fans are concerned, this will be great to hear. Barkley struggled to settle at Chelsea and has appeared to have dramatically improved while wearing the claret and blue. That said, Stamford Bridge boss Frank Lampard has previously hailed the 26-year-old’s “great attitude” at the London club, despite rarely giving him much chance to shine.
Last season, he managed just one goal in the Premier League from 13 starts and eight appearances as a substitute (Whoscored), probably not the amount of first-team football that he would have wanted since leaving Everton in January 2018.
Smith deserves huge credit for bringing Barkley to Villa Park and allowing him to express himself on the pitch, which he is doing in spectacular fashion so far. Having picked up 33 caps for England, the Villa boss understood the sort of player he was bringing into the squad, and it seems to be reaping dividends already.
In other news, fans were left stunned after what this Aston Villa star did.
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