Kevin Phillips has hailed the signing of Ross Barkley and claims the astronomical £11million Aston Villa loan fee is money well spent.
The former Sunderland striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insists Barkley has been worth every penny since he joined the club last summer.
Barkley, 27, joined the Villains on loan from Chelsea last summer and got his loan spell off to a flying start with two goals in his first two Premier League starts with his new side.
Barkley missed seven games over the festive period with a hamstring injury and he has only played 90 minutes on one occasion since.
Phillips insists he has been worth every penny.
“I think he’s been worth it, he was brilliant when he first arrived,” Phillips told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs.
“He’s struggled a bit of late. He’s been left out and brought off with 20 minutes to go and you can see his frustration.
“There’s been times he’s kicked water bottles and gone and sat on his own. I still think he’s a class player.
“It sounds like a lot of money, could the money have been spent better elsewhere? I’m not so sure.
“I’m going to back that signing. He’s been good and it wouldn’t surprise me if he hits a bit of form before the end of the season because he does have quality.
“You don’t just wake up one morning and it’s not there.”
Barkley has three goals and one assist to his name this season but he hasn’t registered a goal contribution since January 30 when he scored against Southampton.
Aston Villa are next in action against Tottenham in the FA Cup on Sunday as they look to pile more misery on Jose Mourinho’s side.
In other Aston Villa news, Alan Hutton has tipped one player to quit Villa in favour of a move to a rival club.