Alan Hutton has admitted Ross Barkley failed in his Aston Villa audition during Jack Grealish’s injury lay-off.
The former Villa defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 27-year-old had the perfect opportunity to prove his ability as a creative spark but flopped.
The Chelsea loanee started in just one of the six games Grealish missed due to a lower leg injury.
Barkley did feature off the bench for over 20 minutes in four of the other games but was unable to make a significant impact.
Villa won just once without Grealish and did not score than more than once in any of their games.
Barkley failed to shine despite Villa paying an enormous £11million to take him on loan from Chelsea for the season.
Hutton told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “It’s not worked out in recent weeks. This was an opportunity for him to maybe step in and show he’s got that ability.
“He’s got that running power, he can see a pass, he’s got an unbelievable strike. It was really time for him to step up and have that ability, that creative spark, they were missing through Jack.
“He’s not been on the pitch – that’s one of the main reasons. When he has come on, it’s very difficult to come on as a sub and really change a game for 15 minutes, it’s very difficult.
“Yes, he was out for five, six weeks with a hamstring and it’s going to take time to get back. I feel for him in that sense. Since he’s come back from his injury, we still expect to see more from a player of his calibre.
“It’s as simple as that. He’ll know that, the manager knows that and we all know that. We’re only pointing out the fact he’s a top, top player. He’s just not quite hit that height since he first came.”