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Barkley reveals World Cup frustration following England recall – football news

Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley has revealed his frustration at having to watch the 2018 World Cup from the sidelines.

Barkley endured a nightmare 2017-18 campaign as he only made five appearances due to recurring hamstring problems.

The former Everton man is now playing regularly for Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri and scored his first goal for the club at the weekend in their 3-0 win over Southampton.

He has also earned himself an England recall after his fitness denied him a place in the World Cup squad – a tournament which he had mixed emotions about after Gareth Southgate’s side reached the semi-finals.

“It was frustrating for me because England means the world to me, to play for your country, but these things happen in football and you have to react and work hard to get your rewards, which I am doing,” Barkley said.

“I was proud to see the lads do really well and see how proud the country was of the boys.

“After where I was at, I had had a difficult season through injuries and I had a few niggles but kept a positive mind. I had a strong pre-season and things are going well for me now.”

England’s run to the last four in Russia was their best performance at a World Cup since 1990 when Paul Gascoigne shone, with Barkley’s playing style seeing him likened to the former Three Lions star.

“All of the midfielders will be thinking that,” he added. “It is a challenge for us to go out there and produce the goods as Gazza did when he was a player.

“We have a lot of talent in the squad that can produce magic at any point in the game and we have a confident bunch of lads and there is a lot of talent coming through.”

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Barkley was part of the 2014 World Cup squad as a 20-year-old but he now feels like he has matured as a footballer and is back where he belongs after being called up for the UEFA Nations League games against Croatia and Spain.

“I’m over the moon to be back, I feel like it’s been a long time coming but I feel like I have worked hard over the last couple of years and that it’s fully deserved that I am back here.

“I feel like I have matured as a person and understood what football is, and taken little details on as I have done now under the manager (Sarri). Things are going really well for me now and I’m fully focused on improving and kicking on.”

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Video: I’m understanding football better than ever – Barkley – football news

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Barkley: I’d be better if I had worked with Sarri sooner – football news

Ross Barkley believes he’d be a better player today if he’d had the chance to work with Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri earlier in his career. 

After a miserable 2017-18 campaign beset by injuries, Barkley has found his feet at Stamford Bridge, making nine appearances in all competitions for the Blues.

He is expected to start for the sixth time under Sarri in Thursday’s Europa League clash with Vidi as the Premier League side look to make it two wins out of two in the competition.

And Barkley credited Sarri for his improvements this season, suggesting the Italian would have helped him reach his potential sooner had they worked together earlier in his career.

“From a technical point of view, he has made me a better player,” the midfielder told a media conference.

“We have done a lot of tactical work and his philosophy is suitable for my style. I feel as the season goes on that I will continue to improve.

“His attention to detail is really important for everyone to understand what he wants. In each game we go into, we go into it with a different approach, so he prepares for each game and each opponent really well.

“I’ve thought about it and I believe if I did have that type of approach from a coach when I was younger then maybe I would have improved a lot more.”

Barkley hopes his recent form will earn him a return to the England set-up, with Gareth Southgate set to name his latest squad on Thursday.

“I believe I am [ready to play for England],” Barkley said. “I have played a big role in the side and I feel like my performances have showed that I am back in that routine.

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“Last season I obviously didn’t play that much, but I knew that this season would be the chance for me to kick on and Sarri has given me the chance to play and I have played, and I hope that I have taken that chance.

“I have played a lot of minutes from the start of the season and I had a strong pre-season as well.

“I am feeling as fit as I have before. I feel [with] the amount of games I have played I am ready to be called up.”

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Fabregas: Keeping Hazard was easy, but may not be next summer – football news

Cesc Fabregas claims it was “easy” for Chelsea to fend off interest in Eden Hazard during the last transfer window, but concedes a lack of fresh terms is set to make that battle considerably tougher.

Having starred for the Blues throughout his time in England, the Belgium international is now considered to occupy a talent bracket at the very top of the game.

Such a standing has unsurprisingly seen him register on the radar of leading sides across Europe, with Real Madrid having been heavily linked with a big-money move for some time.

Chelsea were able to see off that speculation over the summer, but they are yet to extend a contract due to expire in 2020 and have been warned that they will struggle to retain a prized asset without a new deal being done.

“It was an easy decision, especially now, because at this stage how much can Eden cost? Not many teams in the world can buy Eden Hazard. He still had two years left on his contract,” Fabregas told the Evening Standard of his Stamford Bridge team-mate.

“Next year if he has one year left, that’s a different story. You don’t have as much power as a club. Eden is one of the best players in the world. 

“But having two years left, especially how the market is, it’s basically impossible to sign him up. I don’t think it was that hard from the club.”

Hazard was at his sparkling best once again on Wednesday evening as he netted a stunning late winner to help Chelsea come from behind to see off Liverpool 2-1 in the Carabao Cup.

“I have had some great moments with Eden on the pitch but maybe in terms of maturity, yes it is the best [form of his career],” added Fabregas.

“He has always had the ability but he is at an age now where he feels he can be more dangerous. He knows when to pass more, when to dribble. 

“His maturity has improved a lot and now he is scoring goals, decisive goals, which we all wanted from him. 

“When you see the top players, this is what they do. They make a difference in terms of scoring goals. I think he needed that to make the step forward and at the moment he is doing that so hopefully he can keep it up.”

Eden Hazard Chelsea Liverpool League Cup 26092018

Fabregas is not the only Chelsea star to have been impressed by Hazard’s form this season, with Ross Barkley of the opinion that the Belgian forward could be considered the finest player on the planet at present.

He told reporters after a memorable win at Anfield: “He’s one of the best players in the world and he shows it.

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“He’s been showing it for the last five or six years and he is establishing himself in the top three players in the world. At the minute, he’s probably the best player in the world, the way he is playing.”

Pressed further on whether Hazard can be placed above Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Barkley added: “Of course. They are probably a lot more selfish than Eden is. He is not a selfish player. He is happy getting two assists and the team winning. He is adding goals and he keeps improving … At the minute, he is the best player in the world, I believe.

“He is capable of producing magic at any moment in the game. He keeps defenders on the back foot and sometimes you see him attracting two or three players and that creates space for others, like myself, our other wingers and the strikers. When he gets closed down, he opens up space for others.”

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