Gabriel Agbonlahor has tipped Ross Barkley to be axed from the Aston Villa starting XI against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday evening.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, Villa’s record Premier League goalscorer suggested the 27-year-old could benefit from being rotated because of his recent injury struggles.
The England international missed over two months of action with a hamstring injury and has completed 90 minutes just once since his return on January 20.
He reacted angrily to being substituted against Arsenal last weekend when he kicked a water bottle before taking his place on the bench.
Villa have one of the most settled sides in the Premier League and Dean Smith took the surprise decision to replace Douglas Luiz with Marvelous Nakamba in the starting XI against the Gunners.
Asked whether he could see anybody else being rested against the Seagulls, Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “The only person I can see being rotated is maybe Barkley.
“He’s been OK since he’s come back from injury and he got the goal against Southampton.
“But I think he might rotate him.
“Brighton are a very attacking team and a very dangerous team at home.
“You never know, he might decide to play Luiz, John McGinn and Nakamba all in midfield – we don’t know what he’s thinking.
“He might want to rotate Barkley and Anwar El Ghazi or Trezeguet or Morgan Sanson could come in. There’s a lot of options for him.
“I don’t think anybody would say anything if you give Barkley a game’s rest.”
Barkley has played 12 times for the Midlands giants since his season-long loan move from Chelsea in the summer and has scored three goals.
The 33-times England international has operated behind Ollie Watkins and has provided one assist.