Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has picked out Ross Barkley as a surprise name who could be an important part of the Blues squad this season.
The England international has barely featured or made an impact since his January transfer window move from Everton, where he’d also struggled for fitness and form.
Barkley was once, however, regarded as the next big thing in English football before his career stalled somewhat, though he now looks set to get the chance to get things back on track at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri started the 24-year-old in midfield for Chelsea yesterday in their Community Shield defeat to Manchester City, and he had a decent match despite the poor result.
Speaking afterwards, football.london quote Sarri as praising Barkley’s qualities, though he’s unsure about how to fit him in alongside the likes of Jorginho and Cesc Fabregas, who are similar players.
“I like him. He is a technical player and I like him very much,” the Italian said.
"I think it'll be more good than bad.."
Maurizio Sarri is confident he'll get good news when he speaks to Eden Hazard about his future on Monday.
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 5, 2018
“He has to improve on the defensive phase I think. It is difficult at this moment to play with Jorginho, Cesc and Ross all together. But I like him and I think he will be a very important player for us.”
One imagines once N’Golo Kante returns after his extended post-World Cup holiday, the Frenchman will prove a sizeable obstacle in Barkley’s path to the starting XI.