Eyebrows were raised when Chelsea brought Ross Barkley from Everton for just £15 million in January 2018. The Englishman had gone almost a year without playing due to various knee injuries and his promising career looked to be dwindling out. But at just 24 years old and with natural talent in abundance, Barkley now looks at home in London. Maurizio Sarri seems to be the perfect coach to progress Barkley and take him to the next level, following his recent recall to the international squad as well, should Ross Barkley be starting for Chelsea?
Should Ross Barkley Be Starting for Chelsea?
Raw Youthful Talent
As a ripe 20-year-old local boy Ross Barkley had his breakthrough season in 2013. Playing for an exciting young Everton team under Roberto Martinez, Barkley caught the attention of many. His surging bursts of energy from midfield and raw youthfulness were a breath of fresh air. He steamrolled past players with quick feet and great strength. The kid was a real talent.
During that first full season Barkley showed glimpses of his ability, he looked a potential world beater, a player that could go on to emulate Frank Lampard, twenty goals and twenty assists a season. It was a long way off but the ease in which Barkley came into the Premier league and made his mark showed why he was being touted as the next big thing.
He became the local hero, fans could idolise and associate with. His passion on the pitch was first class and second to none in that side. Barkley was a mature player himself, not just in spirit and excitement but his ball skills. A wonderful curling effort against Manchester City and an unbelievable solo goal at St Jame’s Park (running from his own box to the opposite end of the pitch to smash past Tim Krul in the Newcastle goal).
Falling off the Wagon
In the coming seasons, Barkley was to be inconsistent, something that still hinders him today. Changes of management and injuries meant Barkley never kicked on and became a feature in Everton’s team. Under Ronald Koeman and also David Unsworth Barkley struggled to produce much of the excitement which had been flowing in the previous seasons.
His attitude came into question as fans and experts were left puzzled by his performances. They were bland and dull, he didn’t show any of the spark that had seem him become one of England’s hottest prospects. He put on weight and didn’t seem happy. Barkley looked like a typical modern day player that had let fame get to his head.
There were rumours of Spurs’ young manager and squad moving in for Barkley in 2016, Pochettino is the type of coach that could reinvigorate Barkley, shake him up and get him fit. Also the type of coach that can unlock the flare just waiting to shine in the top division.
A proven English player for just £15 million in the modern market. A bargain right? Well, that’s exactly what Ross Barkley was. You can’t get much for £15 million these days and a player of Barkley’s ability and, potential, is a great bit of business by Chelsea. They also have themselves another homegrown player.
For the price they paid they were never going to lose out on a resale of Barkley, and with twelve months left on his contract, and still being injured and unable to play, Chelsea waited and got Barkley on the cheap.
He never properly regained full fitness under Conte but that was unsurprising given he hadn’t played competitive football for over a year. He still looked over weight and struggled to make any impact on the team.
Having the Right Attitude
This summer and for the first months of this season Barkley looks determined. Like a man with a point to prove. Someone who also wants to ignite an England team crying out for a creative midfielder during the World Cup.
Barkley came back early from his summer break to get fit. To show whoever the manager might be that he was willing. Even in a Chelsea squad that invested in two world-class central midfielders, Barkley wants to start. He believes he has something extra to add to this team.
Instead of sulking about being in and out of the starting eleven so far this season, Barkley has proved his point on the pitch. Grabbing two goals in two games and an assist in the league, while performing very well in England’s historic win over Spain.
Cementing a Place
However well he has played this season, Barkley hasn’t had a consistent run of games or starts under his belt. But surely now after his impact against Manchester United at the weekend, Maurizio Sarri must be seriously considering Barkley.
Many will look to the more experienced Mateo Kovacic and say he has done nothing wrong in Chelsea’s team and he hasn’t. But Barkley has brought goals and extra creativity. The drive to run past a playe, beat a man, play the decisive ball has been something the Blues rely too much on Eden Hazard for.
Kovacic and Jorginho might be a more solid option for big games however when teams drop deep and Chelsea dominate the game, these two can be seen as being too similar. Barkley adds an extra dimension to Chelsea’s midfield. He has the same aggression and on the ability as Kovacic and although he lacks in defensive capabilities he doesn’t lack in effort. This energy and pace could provide influential turning points in games.
No matter who Sarri choses to start, the bench will have a very good back up, someone who can come on and change a game no matter what situation. Barkley will play a very big part in Chelsea’s season on all fronts, even if he has to work his way into the league side through performances in other competitions, he will get the minutes to prove his worth.
A Popular Figure
There aren’t many rival fans who doubt Barkley’s ability. He is someone that fans like to see doing well. Someone very similar to Jack Wilshere in their injury setbacks. There is one thing that all fans want, energy and effort.
Barkley looks to have found a place that he can improve. Playing with the some of the best players in the world on a daily basis and under the watchful eyes of an exciting management team, Barkley now has the chance to turn his career around and get the world raving about his on-pitch shows again.
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