Chelsea

Antonio Conte: This is why Ross Barkley did not play against Arsenal

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Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte has revealed why winter signing Ross Barkley didn’t feature against rivals Arsenal in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old joined the Blues from English side, Everton for a reported £15 million fee and became the Premier League champions first signing this January transfer window.

The English midfielder was reportedly close to a move to the Bridge in the summer but opted out of a move to the west London club on deadline day with reports claiming he wants to sort out his fitness issues before making a permanent switch to the Blues this month.

The attacking midfielder didn’t play a single game for the Toffees this season before joining the Premier League champions due to a serious hamstring injury he suffered in May 2017.

However, the former Everton midfielder is reportedly close to full fitness having joined the west London club first team training for the past few days and could make his debut for the Blues in the coming weeks according to Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte.

Despite the arrivals of Danny Drinkwater and Tiemoue Bakayoko from Leicester City and AS Monaco in the summer, the Blues still look unbalanced in the middle of the park and Chelsea fans will be hoping Ross Barkley would help restore balance in midfield once he returns to full fitness.

Antonio Conte as quoted on why winter signing Ross Barkley couldn’t feature against the Gunners on Wednesday, he said;

“[The Arsenal game was] too soon for Ross but we must be pleased because his physical condition is good and he has started train with us and understand our football,” He also added.

“We must be pleased. He needs a bit of time to work on the physical and tactical aspect, but his condition is very good.

“He is a good guy and he has shown great desire to work and to help us.”

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