Ross Barkley 2.0 - Unleashed under Frank Lampard at Chelsea.

We are just over a week away from the new season start at Old Trafford against Manchester United. We have one remaining pre-season game t...

We are just over a week away from the new season start at Old Trafford against Manchester United. We have one remaining pre-season game to go this weekend but the signs are already there for all to see - the second coming of Ross Barkley. 

Why have I called the article Ross Barkley 2.0? Think about it for a second, think of the player we witnessed coming to the fore at Goodison Park and Everton, think of the injury, think of the stop start first season at Chelsea and finally think of the restricted role he played under Maurizio Sarri last season. In these recent pre-season games over the past couple of weeks, we have seen the second coming of the player though of so highly within the game.

I understand that there will be people out there thinking that it's too soon to get carried away with it only being pre-season. There will be people doubting whether or not Barkley would be able to hold his own this year having talked recently of stepping up to fill the void left by the departure of Eden Hazard and I do understand that. I get that for you having one opinion, there will be those that have a view that's different, all I am saying at the moment is that I am excited for what this season could bring, I really am.

As we all know with pre-season the biggest target is to get the players match-fit, to bond together, to absorb the managers ideas and philosophy. You look for players to really make a case for themselves that they are hungry, they have a real desire to be in the managers plans and you look for those that really stand out. Ross Barkley with a couple of others has been that player this time around. Now I don't know whether it's because he is under the guidance of Frank Lampard - a person that he has openly admitted to looking up when he was younger, someone who inspired him, or if he has made a real conscious effort this time around knowing that there is a fierce battle in our central midfield area - but he is the stand-out performer for me so far.

I talk of the restricted role he had last year under Maurizio Sarri and it's difficult to deny really. How many times was the Barkley/Kovacic substitution used last season? Like-for-like or so they said during the in-game change but it's fair to say that Ross Barkley isn't the same type of midfielder that Mateo Kovacic is. The Serbian midfielder is a work-horse, a grafter with much more ability with the ball at his feet than alot of people give him credit for. Goals last season wasn't his game even though I personally felt that he really began to find his feet within the team towards the end of the season.

As for Ross Barkley? He is about flair, skill, assists and goals from midfield - something that we did not get to see much of under Sarri. I felt, as we all did, that he was restricted in his role at one side of Jorginho who as we know sat in front of our back four to protect them without the ball and to pull the strings with the ball at his feet. If anything, once the other Premier League teams worked out how to combat Sarri's Chelsea, the two midfielders asked to play alongside the Italian found themselves playing deeper to provide even more protection which prevented the box-to-box type player that I personally believe that Barkley can be.

So to the beginning of this pre-season and it was clear from the outset that once Frank Lampard took over, with the imposed transfer ban and a new contract for Ruben Loftus-Cheek (who continues to work on his rehab back to fitness), Mason Mount was someone we were all looking forward to seeing back at Chelsea after a great season in the Championship at Derby. For Mount to then be spoken of so highly the manager, to be given a new five-year contract, it was clear that Mason Mount has a big part to play in the new, revitalised Chelsea.

Last year, sports betting site said "With his confidence sky high, Barkley treated Turf Moor to a real midfield masterclass when Eden Hazard was out injured vs Burnley, and now the  pressure is really on Ross Barkley now with many people talking of the fight for the shirt in the starting eleven playing as the number ten or as one of our midfield three being between Barkley and Mount. It's fair to say that Mason Mount has also impressed in pre-season, starting where he left off at Derby by playing well and scoring goals.

Ross Barkley has stepped up in response to all this looking like someone on a mission so far. He looks fresh, hungry and his this real desire/determination about him that we haven't really seen before at Chelsea for the reasons I have stated above.

He is much more involved in the game, has offered a range of passing including the killer pass we had been lacking so often last year in addition to goals. Think of the raking ball he played last night over the top to Christian Pulisic leading to our third goal on the night. There are those that just lump the ball forward over the top hoping that your striker can run onto it and turn a hopeful pass into a good ball but this last night was different, this was a pinpoint fifty-yard ball right on the money and was extremely impressive.

As I have stated in my last video on my Vlog Channel, the first few weeks with Chelsea being on live TV, we are going to have to put up with talk of Eden Hazard leaving, the so-called void, lack of goals looking back last-year and questions being asked of who can/will step up to try and take on that mantle this year at Chelsea. It will become tiresome and boring but something we cannot change. All we can do is let Frank Lampard and his team continue to work hard with the players to try and deliver some sort of consistency to challenge once again.

If Ross Barkley 2.0 can take his pre-season form into the new season to then kick-on with the confidence in his ability and support of the manager - he can become one of the stars of our season and a pivotal part of the team finally unleashing his full potential to become just the same for England.

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