By Gabriel Agbonlahor

17th Feb, 2021 | 8:30pm

Agbonlahor: Smith told to axe 'Outstanding' Barkley for Villa clash v Leicester

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith could drop Ross Barkley for this weekend’s game against Leicester after a run of poor performances.

That’s according to Gabby Agbonlahor, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about Aston Villa’s next Premier League game.

Barkley missed seven league games at the end of 2020 with a hamstring issue and Agbonlahor has not been impressed with the midfielder on his return to the side.

Agbonlahor claims Sunday’s game would be better suited to January signing Morgan Sanson and his inclusion would see Barkley drop to the bench.

“I think Dean Smith will want to persist with Barkley,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.

“I think this next game against Leicester is the type of game that will suit Sanson, he’s not as attacking as Barkley. 

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“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 Barkey 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.” 

Sanson only has 24 minutes under his belt as an Aston Villa player following his January move from Marseille.

Villa have the chance to move as high as fifth in the Premier League table with a win over the Foxes on Sunday.

In other Aston Villa news, this pundit has tipped Villa for another summer spending spree.