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Ross Barkley matured at Chelsea

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Ross Barkley somehow matured at Chelsea to kick start his career again

Ross Barkley somehow matured at Chelsea to kick start his career again. As a footballer you don’t want to be forgotten at the age of 24. It’s the time, when you are at your prime and you want to maintain your supremacy till you get in your 30’s.

Ross Barkley as England’s most admired teenager must have given a thought to it after spending a decade with Everton. It wasn’t going great with Toffees. He didn’t get featured for Merseyside in his final season with the club, having been sidelined with a long-term hamstring injury. He must be lucky to get a second chance to shape his career when Chelsea come calling.

You want to play for England’s top team to earn a selection in your national team. Chelsea gives that kind of surety, and now it was all on Barkley to revive his career at club and international level.

Barkley career at Chelsea didn’t start as expected under Antonio Conte after a £15 million move in January. He suffered a public humiliation on his first appearance as a Chelsea player in the second leg defeat against Arsenal in Carabao Cup exit. He took more time than expected to come on the pitch as Willian’s substitute in the first-half. Conte couldn’t control his temper and publicly humiliated him.

All wasn’t well for Barkley. He only made two Premier League appearances for Chelsea despite being hired in early January. Maurizio Sarri also took his time to trust Ross Barkely in his midfield dynamic to play his famous “Sarri Ball” football.

His preferred option was Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, and N’Golo Kante in midfield. He still sees Kovacic as a safer option in terms of maintaining possession, but Barkley adds a different dimension to his game with his ability to run from deep and score beautiful goals from midfield just like Marek Hamsik at Napoli when Sarri was in-charge.

Barkley has played only 391 minutes of football under Sarri, but his three goals and four assists makes him a challenger to find a place in Sarri’s playing XI. He hasn’t been a starter against big teams like Manchester United and Liverpool, but he is winning manager’s trust coming as a substitute.

He has scored in each of his last three games before finally missing out against Bate Barisov in Europa League encounter. But, he did come up with an assist. He finally seems to be enjoying football again and ready to explore his true talent.

Former Everton manager Roberto Martinez described Barkley as a mix of Paul Gascoigne and Michael Ballack. Roy Hodgson also reminiscent him with Gascoigne for his pace and power with excellent technique. Former Chelsea legend Frank Lampard describes him as young Wayne Rooney and most importantly former Barcelona midfield legend Xavi Hernandez praises him in November 2014 that he is good enough to play in La Liga, describing his physical and technical abilities.

The only question was where Barkley mistaken to not take his career to a new height. Was spending long enough time at Everton was a fault when Merseyside were not going anywhere? Was he under wrong influence in Liverpool staying close to his home or he really needed a manager like Maurizio Sarri who knows how to get the best of his player?

Sky Sports pundit Danny Murphy told The Barkley Debate, “When you live in a certain area all your life, and you’re only used to one way of life, you can get in a comfort zone and a rut, if you like.”

“There’s a higher expectancy from supporters when you’re one of their own to be on form, and sometimes maturity in football comes off the pitch rather than on it. He got himself in a few bit of troubles, and maybe he just needed to move out of that. He has changed his mentality, physically he looks better, he looks hungry, he looks like he’s trying to prove a point. It’s like he’s turned off a new leaf, and fair play to him. It takes a lot of courage.”

“When I was in Chester and signed for Liverpool, it took me about a year or 18 months to realize I had to move away from the area to avoid certain things, certain problems and temptations. He’s benefitted from moving away, the manager deserves credit for giving him a platform, but Barkley deserves the most credit, because he’s taken a risk.”

Barkley has also gain the confidence of Maurizio Sarri. Chelsea boss praised Barkley after Southampton game. He said as BBC reported, “Today he played really well. I’m really happy for him because from the beginning he has improved, day by day, week by week, match by match. Potentially, he is a great player because he has qualities from the physical point of view, from the technical point of view, now he’s improving from the tactical point of view. I think he’ll become very important in England and for the England national team.”

The 24-year-old forgotten star has returned into Gareth Southgate’s England side after two years. There are great expectations from him and we hope he revive his England career after finding his foot at Chelsea. Barkley seems to be a matured man at the age of 24, and it’s not too late to reinvent yourself. He still has his prime years left in him to become one of England’s icon player.

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