Many were left surprised when Gareth Southgate picked Ross Barkley for the Montenegro game. After giving a string of disappointing performances for Chelsea recently, nobody really wanted an ineffective Barkley in the lineup. However, one brace later, it was the centre-midfielder who stole the show.
By being played at the farthest forward in a 3-man midfield line, he shone through in ways only Everton fans will remember him doing before. While his first strike was due to Chelsea team-mate Callum Hudson-Odoi’s brilliance, Barkley set-up and scored his second by showing some lethal finishing.
A huge performance for a man once compared to Michael Ballack by former manager Roberto Martinez and perhaps a coming of age one.
Maurizio Sarri might’ve rejuvenated his Chelsea career after arriving this summer, but he needs to allow his ace in the hole some freedom. It was that very freedom in the absence of Eden Hazard which allowed him to have a surprising goal-scoring form a few months ago. Since then, he’s been pegged back to play as a more traditional midfielder.
Clearly, that’s not where he excels. An untamed beast in attacking areas, a player of his size and close control should be an attacking bulldozer more than anything.
Being forced to help N’Golo Kante and Jorginho with their defensive work, he’s failed to cope with the pressure. If the England result proved anything, he should be played ahead of the centre-midfielders to aid Eden Hazard and co in the attack, especially considering the Blues’ striking problems.
The former Everton man is at his most comfortable when going forward, creating and scoring goals for his side. Rather than being entangled in the confusing webs of Sarriball, the Italian should allow him to roam forward, get into the box and get goals in club colours.
Chelsea fans, would you like to see Barkley in a more advanced attacking role? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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