Chelsea fans are still waiting to catch their first glimpse of Ross Barkley following his £15 million move from Everton earlier this month.
The 24-year-old was ineligible to feature in the Blues’ FA Cup third round replay with Norwich City on Wednesday evening but could make his debut in the Premier League match against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday lunchtime.
Barkley hasn’t made a single competitive appearance so far this season due to a hamstring injury. However, he played in his first uncompetitive match this afternoon, in a behind-closed-doors practice match against Queens Park Rangers.
The match was held at Chelsea’s training ground and provided Barkley with an opportunity to prove to Antonio Conte that he’s fit and ready to play for the Blues in the Premier League.
But how did the English midfielder get on?
What Barkley did in behind-closed-doors match v QPR
Well, according Olivier Kay, the Times’ Chief Football Correspondent, Barkley fared pretty well.
In what will no doubt come as hugely encouraging news to Chelsea supporters, Barkley managed to score two goals during the match.
Kay has also been informed that Barkley appeared to be lacking full match-fitness but that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering he hasn’t played since last season.
The Sun add that Chelsea won the match 3-2 and Barkley has now been cleared to make his debut against Brighton.
Barkley has also been impressing in training
The former Everton star, who has joined Conte’s side in a bid to resurrect his stagnating career, has also caught the eye in training since joining the club.
Chelsea released footage of the tenacious midfielder in action last weekend and fans were impressed by how sharp he looked.
The highlight of his first training session was undoubtedly this stunning left-footed volley that he rifled into the back of the net.
Barkley will be judged on performances in proper matches
Of course, performing in behind-closed-doors friendly matches and training sessions is all well and good, but Barkley will ultimately be judged on what he does during competitive games.
He could make the substitutes’ bench against Brighton this weekend.
Four days later, the Blues travel to Arsenal for the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal.
Can Barkley make himself a hero with his new fans early doors? Watch this space.
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