Aston Villa boss Smith concedes Barkley will return to Chelsea if...

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Aston Villa boss Dean Smith concedes they'll lose Ross Barkley back to Chelsea if everything goes to plan.

When Barkley joined on loan from Chelsea this season, Smith said his intention was to get the 26-year-old back into Gareth Southgate's squad and if he maintains his early form between now and the next international break that is a real possibility.

“It's a great four months. He's playing for Aston Villa and he knows he's got four months of hard work and good performances to show everybody that he should be in that squad," said Smith.

“The little I've worked with him so far, his attitude and application have been first-class. Long may that continue.

“There's still time for him, I believe so. He's a quality player and I'm thankful that he's working with Villa at the moment, and thankful to Chelsea for loaning him."