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Barkley expects few nerves but ‘not the best’ reception from Everton fans

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The prodigal son faces his boyhood club for the first time since signing with Chelsea

Everton v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

As he has done so many other times before in his career, Barkley will be wearing blue as he plays in front of the Everton fans on Sunday — provided he plays, which he should, unless Sarri’s rotation hits a snag. The obvious difference this time compared to the hundreds of previous times is that the match will be at Stamford Bridge instead of Goodison Park, and Barkley will be in Chelsea blue rather than Everton blue.

While they may be the same shade of blue when it comes down to it (certainly more so in some years than others), Barkley doesn’t expect that discrepancy to pass without a strong reaction, and probably not a very good one, from the visiting faithful crammed into the corner of the Shed End.

“I don’t think it will be the best. There might be a few who might say a few good things.

“I’m not nervous, I’m excited to play against my former club and team-mates — I understand how some of them play, so that could be an advantage for me. On the day I might get a few nerves as it will feel a bit strange.

“I’m looking forward to catching up with some of the staff there who I used to get on really well with.”

Just in case there are more than “a few” who might say good things, Barkley made sure to explain just why he felt he had to leave the blue half of Liverpool: personal development and career goals. Sorry, not sorry!

“I tried to achieve success there but sometimes these things happen in football. Coming to Chelsea was a big challenge for me.

“I was approaching 25 and I felt looking back I could have improved a lot more at Everton. At Chelsea I knew I’d improve a lot quicker around better players, world-class players.”

-Ross Barkley; source: Liverpool Echo

Barkley’s master plan is working out just peachy-keen, although his last two outings (Palace and BATE) have left something to be desired — especially compared with his Man of the Match turn against Burnley as well as his performances against Southampton, Manchester United, and for the England national team.

It’s probably just a blip, given how well he’s been coming along since the pre-season. I’m sure he would like nothing more than to show the Everton fans just how far that has been.