Chelsea star credits Maurizio Sarri for his improvement
What's the story?
Ross Barkley has credited Maurizio Sarri for his improvement and resurgence at Chelsea, after his career had stalled due to injuries and lack of favour from former boss Antonio Conte. The Englishman also believes little coaching hampered his development post his teenage years.
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Barkley emerged as one of the brightest prospects in English football during his Everton days. He made his debut at a tender age of 17 and went on to appear in the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.
However, injuries curtailed his progress. Despite starting fresh at Chelsea in January, he failed to impress Conte and hence spent most of the time on the sidelines.
The heart of the matter
In this season, though, he has been on the right side of the tactical transition the club has gone through under their new manager. He has already made eight appearances since Sarri took over at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking ahead of his side's Europa League clash against Videoton, he heaped praise on his gaffer.
"I would say Sarri’s philosophy has helped me a lot because over the years I haven’t been coached much and I am at an age now where I understand football a lot more. I know how important it is to take different tactics from different managers on board. I feel like I am ready to understand every aspect of the game."
“When I broke into the Everton side under Roberto Martínez I was playing in the No 10 role and I had never played there before, so I was getting used to that role as a first-team player. But usually I was a No 8. Before I broke my leg I was a deep-lying midfield player, so I have always been a centre midfielder, either in a two or a three. Now I am in a three and I feel really comfortable with that.”
The 24-year-old feels he has benefited from Sarri's philosophy and eye for detail. Barkley added:
“I believe that, if I did have that type of approach from a coach when I was younger, then maybe I would have improved a lot more, where I am right now is where I believe I should be."
Barkley is in line to start on the left-hand side of Chelsea's three-man midfield against Hungarian champions MOL Vidi. The likes of Cesc Fabregas and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are expected to feature as well. Post that fixture, the Blues take on Southampton.