After being trotted out for press conferences and FA interviews, Ross Barkley was duly trotted out in the starting lineup as well for England’s Nations League encounter in Croatia, for whom Mateo Kovačić was starting, as usual. It was, if you will, a bit of a midfield showdown between Barkley and Kovačić, who basically play the same position in Sarri’s midfield three at Chelsea. Intriguing!
The match ended 0-0, matching the number of total spectators, and apparently neither player did much of anything. This has led to largely disappointing reactions in the English media regarding Barkley’s first national team appearance in over two years, but the kid himself was happy enough to play after working hard to earn this opportunity, and felt that the Three Lions could’ve won on most days against the World Cup runners-up.
“I thought in the second half we had our fair share of chances and any other day I feel we would have come away with the three points and possibly won 3-0. I thought we should have been a bit more ruthless today.
”We had the best chances and I can’t remember them really having many chances other than a couple of shots from the edge of the box. It’s disappointing that we didn’t win the game.”
-Ross Barkley; source: Goal
A bit of competition never hurt anyone, so it’s great to see both Chelsea midfielders featuring for their nations.
The other big game of the day saw Belgium take on Switzerland, with the Red Devils continuing to perform up to expectations with a 2-1 win. They did leave it late, but the winning goal came courtesy of a rather deft flick from that man, Eden Hazard for the secondary assist, which was cool.
Former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku got the brace, former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois got the win, and former Chelsea loanee Thorgan Hazard also featured for about 10 seconds at the end. Current Chelsea loanee Michy Batshuayi did not and sat on the bench instead.
Later in the day, Brazil beat Saudi Arabia 2-0, but no Chelsea players have been called up to the squad for this international break, which is surely something that hasn’t happened often if at all in recent memory.