The loss of Ross Barkley to injury is a “huge blow” to Aston Villa ahead of the trip to West Ham tomorrow, according to Kevin Phillips.
The former Claret and Blue, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, hailed the impact of the “outstanding” 26-year-old since he arrived at Villa Park in September.
Barkley has enjoyed a sensational start to his Villa career, playing a key role in wins over Liverpool, Leicester and Arsenal since joining on a season-long loan from Chelsea.
However, in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at home to Brighton the 33-times England international was forced off the field with a hamstring injury.
Villa boss Dean Smith revealed on Saturday that the attacking midfielder will be sidelined for Monday’s trip to the London Stadium as well as fixtures against Newcastle, Wolves, Burnley and likely West Brom before Christmas.
When asked by Football Insider how damaging Barkley’s absence could be over the festive period, Phillips said: “It is a huge blow.
‘I am not saying it is all down to him but it is no coincidence that they lost against Brighton last week after he got injured.
“It is a big blow because he is a huge player for them.
“Every week we are talking about Ross Barkley and Jack Grealish but Villa have certainly got a big squad but now it is time for someone else to step up and try and bring that creative spark.
“He will be a miss, definitely, because he has been outstanding since he has been there.”
Prior to the West Ham match, Smith said: “Ross obviously got a hamstring injury against Brighton so he’s going to be out for two or three weeks.
“Nothing more than that, it’s not as bad as what we first feared.”
In other Aston Villa news, Kevin Campbell claims Premier League giants are trying to sign 22-year-old after huge reveal.