While his former Everton teammates were busy almost nicking a result at Anfield once again before eventually succumbing to a winning header from Liverpool new signing Virgil van Dijk to crash out of the FA Cup in the third round, Ross Barkley was busy doing all the first day things that new signings have to do at Chelsea. Signatures, introductions, pictures, interviews — as Lee Parker revealed in his chat with our good friends at the London is Blue Podcast, these days can be busy and hectic and tiring, both physically and especially emotionally.
It’s the latter bit that Barkley talks about a lot at the start of his first interview. He is, after all, leaving behind the only club he’s ever known, the one he had been at since a very early age. Barkley is a true Evertonian, which is why his departure has generated some strong reactions from Merseyside, but he’s a true Blue now and has a chance to step his game up to the next level.
As Lee moves through the usual questions — the basic whys and whats and whens — Barkley talks about looking forward to working with Antonio Conte (“perfect for me” he says when asked about Conte’s formations and tactics), meeting his new teammates (having only played with Cahill and Drinkwater before for England), growing up while watching and “idolizing” Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack (Barkley has drawn comparisons to both at various times during his career already), and getting back to playing (since he had been out with injuries since the summer) especially in the Champions League for the first time.
Barkley says he’s feeling great and is ready to go and make the most of this opportunity, including living up to the number on the back of his shirt. His message to the fans is that he’s looking forward to the journey ahead and creating more history for the club.
So say we all.