Alan Hutton has admitted he has changed his mind about Aston Villa signing Ross Barkley permanently at the end of the season.
The former Villa star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted he was all for the 27-year-old turning his temporary spell permanent after his early season performances.
As quoted by the Mirror last week, Dean Smith confirmed there had been no talks over a deal with Chelsea for when Barkley’s loan expires.
The attacking midfielder has started 15 times in 21 Premier League appearances for Villa, with three goals and an assist under his belt.
However, he suffered a hamstring injury between December and January and has struggled to nail down a starting role ever since.
The 2-2 draw with West Brom was his first start since the 2-1 defeat to Leicester City back in February.
With Jack Grealish out injured, Hutton admitted he was hoping Barkley could step up and fill the creative void.
However, he revealed he had changed his mind about the Chelsea loanee.
“It has tailed off, hasn’t it?” Hutton told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.
“I mean, he started off on fire at the beginning of the season before the injury. He was linking up really well with Jack Grealish. It has not really worked for him after coming back. He has struggled to get in the team.
“When he has, maybe he has missed that type of player around him, the likes of Jack. It has been difficult for him. You’re talking £20million-plus, I would have thought, maybe more to sign him.
“Whether Dean Smith sees him as a good fit, I’m not so sure. He’s not really been able to rely on him recently.
“So I’m sitting here now thinking that they probably won’t make it permanent. At the start of the season, I was like yep, get him in, he’s been brilliant.
“It’s really tailed off and listening to Dean Smith, it looks like it won’t be made permanent.”