Villa have lost their last two league games following a 100 per cent start to the season and Smith is expecting a reaction at Arsenal from on-loan Chelsea midfielder Barkley who was left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad named on Thursday.
"At the training ground he's been a breath of fresh air. He wants to learn and asks a lot of questions too which I really admire from someone of his stature.
"The first three games with us, he's covered the most distance and done the most high-speed running in the team, so he's working hard on both aspects of his game.
"We have got a leadership group within our squad. Obviously Jack (Grealish) and Tyrone (Mings) are part of that, John McGinn is another, and Ross who has come into the team with the experience that he's got."