September 20, 2023

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has promised to help Ross Barkley play for England at Euro 2020.

The former Everton midfielder has slipped down the pecking order under Frank Lampard at Chelsea, and it was decided between the club and the player that he should leave on loan.

The England international has since hit the ground running by staring in the 7-2 win over Liverpool before scoring a late winner against Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester on Sunday.

Dean Smith has now sent a message to Lampard, thanking him for the loan agreement while outlining how he convinced the midfielder that he had a better chance to shine at Villa Park.

“He’s a high-calibre player. I’m thankful to Chelsea that they’ve loaned him to us,” said Smith.

“I sold him the project here and told him I’ll get him in the Euros squad and he’s going to try and help us win football games. He’s certainly done that in his first couple.

“He couldn’t have started better. Being a Blue, getting that win and scoring against the Reds (in a 7-2 win before the break) and then getting that in the 91st minute couldn’t have been a better start for him or us.

“It was a tough game and that bit of quality shone through at the end.”

Ross Barkley and Jack Grealish have already formed a fine partnership
Ross Barkley and Jack Grealish have already formed a fine partnership (Image: Getty Images) 

Villa are the only side in the Premier League to have won all of their fixtures so far this season, and Smith believes his team have continued from where they left off last time out.Before adding of their recent mindset: “I am really pleased with it but I have been pleased with it since lockdown.

“There is a general work ethic between players that they want to keep clean sheets and it is a credit not just to the defenders and goalkeeper but the whole team.”

Barkley now looks set to play a key role in Smith’s team alongside Jack Grealish, who has also enjoyed a fantastic start in their three straight victories.

Smith said of his recent England snub: “I think the beneficiaries of him not getting more minutes are going to be Aston Villa. Anybody who doesn’t get on the pitch will have slight frustration because you want to try to help [but] he is not deflated at all.

“He started for England for the first time in his career and got man of the match from that so he can be pleased with what he has done so far.”

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