'Devastating' - Exclusive: Top pundit gutted at 'Terrible' new Aston Villa blow
Losing Ross Barkley to injury after just five minutes against Brighton was a “devastating” blow for Aston Villa, according to Alan Hutton.
The former Villa and Scotland star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admitted the Villans’ game plan was ripped up when the 26-year-old was forced off with a hamstring problem on Sunday.
The Chelsea loanee was replaced by Bertrand Troare against the Seagulls as goals from Danny Welbeck and Solly March condemned Dean Smith’s men to a 2-1 defeat at home.
Hutton admitted that Villa looked a little lost without their midfield star and that a lot of pressure shifted onto the shoulders of Jack Grealish in his absence.
Hutton told Football Insider: “I think they started off really well, really positive.
“The Barkley injury was terrible, I just think he was the missing piece for Villa, even last season. He allows Grealish to just go and play, he’s somebody he can play with, all the pressure’s not on him and to lose him so early I think was devastating.
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“When he went off, it seemed like it was like: ‘Okay Jack, can you go and do something now, can you go and win the game?’ I still believe they were in the game even though after the change.”
Barkley has played six times for Villa since joining the club on loan and has one goal and one assist under his belt.
Villa’s next game sees them take on West Ham, who sit one place and one point behind Smith’s men, next Monday.
In other Aston Villa news, a Football Insider pundit has revealed Leeds have been looking at senior star at Villa Park.