Smith rates Barkley alongside Geordie legend Paul Gascoigne.
He wrote in the Telegraph: "Michael Ballack has been mentioned, so has Steven Gerrard. But the way Barkley can burst through a small gap between two opponents with a lightening change of feet and surge of pace cannot help but remind me of Paul Gascoigne in his prime.
"High praise indeed, I know, but that is how good, I believe, this prospect can be.
"Working further in his favour, Barkley also has that Scouse mentality prevalent in Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, that nastiness in the tackle, that fierce determination to come out on top. A strong 6ft 2in frame undoubtedly helps."
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