Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill was full of praise for Gareth Barry after he played a starring role in the 4-1 UEFA Cup win in Iceland over FH Hafnarfjordur.
The 27-year-old midfielder scored the opening goal in a convincing victory, having declared himself fit and ready to feature as a move to Liverpool begins to look increasingly unlikely.
O'Neill told the club's official website: "Gareth did very well, he was an absolute delight. I spoke to him beforehand and he was in the right frame of mind and wanted to play.
"He knew the consequences of playing, just in case anything might happen in the next couple of weeks, but I think he wants to get mentally focussed now about the season. It's a big, big season for him.
"He did fantastically well last year and got himself into the England squad and played exceptionally well.
"He doesn't want to throw that away by not being fit for the start of the season.
"However, I have no idea what will happen between now and the end of August."