Pre-season could be vital for Ross Barkley’s future at Chelsea.
The former Everton midfielder spent the last season out on loan with Aston Villa, but has returned to Cobham for pre-season training with a new manager at the helm.
Let go by Frank Lampard, Thomas Tuchel is now in charge and the former England man will be looking to impress the boss and try and cement a place in the first team for the 2021/22 season.
Chelsea’s pre-season games will see the Blues take on Bournemouth, Arsenal and Tottenham and the 27-year-old will be eager to get some game time under his belt to prove himself to Tuchel ahead of the new season.
Barkley’s contract finishes at the end of the 2022/23 season so the next few weeks could be crucial in saving his place at the West London club.
As Chelsea’s youthful squad works towards pre-season and the Super Cup Final against Villarreal, Tuchel will be looking for his experienced players to strengthen the squad in the coming weeks.
However, Barkley’s biggest competition comes in the form of those experienced heads and he will have to fight for his place and show his speed, strength, effective dribbling, strong ball control, shielding ability and be able to communicate with all his other teammates effectively to win over Tuchel and outshine the experienced heads in the squad.
He will be fighting against some of Chelsea’s best for his midfield position including Jorginho and N’Golo Kante who both had a successful run at Euro 2020, particularly Jorginho who won the tournament with his country.
If Barkley is selected to play in the pre-season friendlies, his performances could determine whether or not he joins them in the new season. With Chelsea’s opening game of the Premier League campaign against Crystal Palace just under three weeks away Ross Barkley has a huge statement to make if he wants to stay at the home of the Champions of Europe, with a lot to prove to Tuchel.
Last season saw the attacking midfielder out on loan at Dean Smith’s Aston Villa and he made 24 appearances and scored three goals in total.
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There were early highs that turned into late season lows with Barkley later on struggling to get any game time.
His time at Chelsea before joining Aston Villa very much looked similar being a very rocky road for the 27-year-old as he made 52 appearances for the Blues and scored four goals between 2017-2020 but, struggling to nail down a regular starting spot.
The midfielder has already been linked with Newcastle United so if he fails to impress at Chelsea in the coming weeks he could move out on loan to the Magpies for the 2021/22 season.