Latest News

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Ross Barkley could be Chelsea's No.10 – Antonio Conte

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes new signing Ross Barkley should be looking towards winning a place in England's World Cup squad as he works his way back to fitness.
Barkley joined the Blues from Everton in the first week of the transfer window for a cut-price £15m fee but is yet to play for either club so far this term having missed the start of the season with a hamstring injury.
The midfielder is back in full-training now and could be in contention to play for Chelsea within the next few weeks.
And Conte believes Barkley has the ability to play across the midfield, even in the No. 10 role.
"We are talking about a player with great talent," Conte told reporters in a press conference, according to ESPN.
"Before this bad injury he was with the national team. I think we have five months to show he deserves a call with the national team for the World Cup. I hope [he makes it], because it means he will do very well with us.
"First of all we have the necessity to bring him in the best physical condition.
"I think he can play in midfield, if we play with three midfielders, or No. 10 if we play 3-4-3. Barkley is also a creative player. This signing is a good signing for the club."
Conte has admitted, however, that he knows Barkley may not be an immediate fit into the squad and that is something he will be focusing on in training.
"I think he has the quality to score more goals," he added.
"My [first] priority is to convince the player to work for the team. If you are able to work for the team, the team will then exalt your characteristics.
"We are talking about a talented player and we are happy to have him in our squad.
"It will be very important to know him very well. For sure before playing [him] we must be sure that he is into our idea of football. Otherwise it's a problem for him and it's a problem for the rest of the team."
Chelsea have had struggles in breaking down solid defences over the past few months, failing to score against Everton, West Ham United and Championship side Norwich City.
I can't see Ross Barkley starting for Chelsea – Joey Barton
However, Joey Barton believes Barkley will struggle to break into the Chelsea side with Conte playing a specific style using certain players.
In recent weeks, Conte has been using a three-man central midfield with N'Golo Kanté and Cesc Fabregas the guaranteed starters. For the spare spot, Barkley will have to contend with Tiémoué Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater – with Barton impressed by the latter.
"It is a good signing because £15m for Ross Barkley, if he can get back to the form he has got, is actually very cheap," he told talkSPORT.
"Everton have [also] got a good deal because you had a player running his contract out who wasn't going to sign a new one so you were going to lose him on a free.
"The issue is going to firstly be whether Conte stays at Chelsea beyond the end of the season. If they don't win the title or progress in the Champions League, there could be question marks," said the ex-Newcastle player.
"We all remember the Roma game not so long ago when he looked like he was teetering. There's David Luiz's issue with him, he was maybe going to lose the dressing room – I don't know what is going on. And I can't see Ross Barkley starting for that Chelsea side.
"Drinkwater has come in and done well and then it is kind of Hazard and Morata beyond that. I don't really see where Ross Barkley fits in to the current Chelsea style under Conte."