Ross Barkley is thriving as the “big fish” at Aston Villa after a “disappointing” spell at Stamford Bridge, according to Danny Mills.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Leeds and Manchester City defender said that the 26-year-old is the “perfect foil” for club captain and talisman Jack Grealish.

Villa boss Dean Smith revealed yesterday that Barkley has had a “big impact” on the dressing room since his arrival earlier this month.

The attacking midfielder joined on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea in a bid to win back his spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad ahead of next summer’s Euros.

Barkley has scored twice in two starts since the move, helping the Claret and Blues to wins over Liverpool and Leicester City.

When asked by Football Insider for his reaction to Dean Smith’s dressing room reveal, Mills said: “Barkley is the perfect foil to go alongside Jack Grealish.

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“It takes a bit of pressure off him.

“Barkley went to Chelsea as an awful lot of potential and he may feel that he never really had his opportunity to perform. It was probably disappointing for him. He was a small fish there.

“Now he is a big fish again. He is one of the main men. He is happy to be there and he is performing fantastically in that environment.

“Some player thrive being the main guy. They perform better off the back of that and Ross Barkley looks to be one of those.”

In other Aston Villa news, Paul Robinson left bouncing by what he has heard at Villa Park.