Chelsea legend hails Blues outcast for turning things around

Photo: David Klein/Reuters

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Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley spent last season on loan with Aston Villa, and despite a fine start to the loan spell, Barkley lost steam afterwards and became irrelevant to Dean Smith’s side.

Barkley was expected to leave the club yet again during the summer transfer window but couldn’t get a team. Forced to stay with the Chelsea team until January at least, there was no hope for Barkley in a packed Chelsea midfield. But the 27-year-old has proven himself with his recent performance.

To the surprise of many, he has now featured in consecutive games against Juventus and Southampton, and he played a key role in the win over the Saints. Having come off from the bench, his dinked pass to Cesar Azpilicueta on the right proved to be key as Cesar would assist Timo Werner for a crucial goal.

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin has hailed the quality and impact of the former Everton man and is surprised that he’s now winning a place back into the team.

Pat Nevin told the official Chelsea website: “Southampton were still capable of defending in numbers, but the important thing was to bring on some creativity and some vision.

“Hakim Ziyech was the obvious choice. After all creativity is his stock in trade, but he was overlooked. Kai Havertz might have been the next most obvious. Remember his contribution from the bench versus Zenit.

“But no, the manager thought Ross Barkley was exactly the man to seize the moment when it came.

“Ross didn’t score the goal and will not even get an assist next to his name, but his brilliantly pinged ball from the left-hand side to Cesar Azpilicueta’s toe inside the box was one of the best passes of the season from a Chelsea player so far.

“The trajectory and the pace were both exceptional. I still think Kovacic’s stunner of a through-ball to play in Lukaku versus Villa takes some beating, but it was a world-class pass.”

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Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.