Ross Barkley reveals his pre-season preparations when Maurizio Sarri joined Chelsea

Chelsea v Olympique Lyonnais - Pre-Season Friendly

Ross Barkley has really stepped up to the plate at Chelsea this season.

There were major questions being asked about his future after a controversial exit from Everton and struggled to make any headway during his first six months at Stamford Bridge. 

Injury problems, a lack of fitness and inconsistent form had Chelsea supporters wondering whether he would be playing in west London for the 2018-19 campaign.

However, Barkley has shown English football what he has to offer this season, repaying the faith invested in him by Maurizio Sarri with some impressive performances.

He caught the eye in the pre-season and is now competing with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic in one of the most competitive midfields in the Premier League.

Barkley impressing this season

The goals that featured throughout his spell with Everton are also returning, too, with strikes against Southampton and Manchester United proving crucial.

At the heart of all of this is Barkley's incredible work-rate and it's clear he's doing everything in his power to make the breakthrough at Chelsea.

From improving his conditioning, expanding his tactical knowledge and even removing all of his tattoos, Barkley is showing fans he has the elite mentality needed to succeed.

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-MAN UTD

Barkley's summer revision

And that fact has been further reiterated in an interview with BBC Sport, where Barkley revealed his reaction to Sarri's appointment this summer.

There aren't many players who would have reacted like him and it really shows why he's progressed the way he has this season.

"I wanted to know who the manager was when he was coming in. I had an interest in the style of play that the managed used at Napoli," Barkley explained.

"So, during pre-season I would watch clips to see the patterns of play the manager would like and even the movement.

"You play football to enjoy the game and the manager wants to be happy on the sidelines watching unbelievable football."

Fair play, Ross.

There's every reason to suggest that his revision was crucial in his development this season and allowed him to impress Sarri during the early games of their pre-season tour.

If Barkley hadn't done this type of preparation, he might have struggled to adapt to the demands of Sarri and could have lost his place in the team.

Southampton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League

There's still a long way to go for Barkley to guarantee his name on the team sheet week in, week out but you certainly can't fault him for effort.

This season, he's been the perfect example for footballers wanting to succeed at top clubs when their backs are against the walls.

Do you think Barkley should start for Chelsea? Have your say in the comments section below.

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