Chelsea’s £15m gamble on an injured Ross Barkley is starting to pay off in earnest, with Barkley playing in all but one game this season (starting about half of them) and getting better with every passing minute on the pitch. On Sunday, he even got his first Chelsea goal, with his performance overall singled out for praise by many.
Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard was one of those joining in, talking up Barkley’s potential as one of the best in the world. Strong praise, which Barkley, back in the fold for the English national team, returned with interest as well.
“He’s a magnificent player. You can see how he started the season and the World Cup that he had, you don’t get many players like him. He’s capable of magic at any moment and to hear the things that he’s said, it’s great for me get to hear a player like that say so many great things about myself.”
Of course, Hazard is in the news for other things, too, especially regarding his long-term Chelsea future with Real Madrid back in the picture once again. Barkley is hoping that these past few months won’t be the only time he gets to spend with Hazard at Chelsea.
“It’s important [he stays] because he’s been at Chelsea for a long time. He’s achieved so much. But I can’t speak for Eden. He knows in his mind what he wants but I’d love to play with him for many more years.”
-Ross Barkley; source: Sky Sports
When Barkley signed with Chelsea, one of his stated goals was to once again get to represent his country. He was injured at the time and still faced a long road ahead of recovery, training, and convincing, not to mention developing as a player past the plateau that he reached at Everton.
Thanks in part to injuries to a few players ahead of him, Barkley earned that recall for the current international break, the first time in over 18 months that he’s gotten the call. He hasn’t actually played for the Three Lions since the end of the 2015-16 season, so he’ll be hoping that manager Gareth Southgate grants him a few minutes in the upcoming matches.
Of course, it wasn’t just the injuries; Barkley’s been in good form since preseason and has worked hard to earn this opportunity.
“I feel much more mature and I’m ready to show what I’m capable of what I’ve shown in spells.”
“Everybody develops at different rates. I understand my football better now, more than I ever have understood it before. I’m happy, confident and going in the right direction. I feel I’m better equipped now. I’ve had expectations on me from a young age and I’ve dealt with them.”
“I’ve been through difficult spells but I’m coming out of it a better player. I’ve worked on my weaknesses defensively and worked on my attacking strengths. I think I’m becoming a better all-round player.”
-Ross Barkley; source: BBC
Onwards and upwards!