Ross Barkley is not in the Aston Villa squad to face Manchester United.
Dean Smith has made only one change to his side for tonight’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford, with Tyrone Mings returning to the starting XI in place of Kortney Hause after serving a one-match suspension.
Smith previously stated that Barkley was close to returning to the squad for the 3-0 victory against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.
The influential midfielder suffered a hamstring injury in the defeat at home to Brighton and Hove Albion in November.
He was ineligible to face his parent club Chelsea on Monday as Villa drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge and remains sidelined at United.
It means Barkley has now missed the last seven matches with Jack Grealish continuing in a central role, flanked by Anwar El Ghazi and Bertrand Traore.
Many fans were left wondering where the 27-year-old is when the team news was revealed, with one on social media asking: “Still no Barkley? And nice message to Kortney, no matter how good you play, we’ll drop you.”
“Saying he’s back the next game then not even being on the bench is stupid. Just say he’s out for a while,” said another.
A third posted: “What’s happened to Barkley?!”
“How is Barkley not in the squad?” asked another supporter.
While a fifth wrote: “Harsh on Hause but where on earth is @RBarkley8?”