Barkley ready to answer England's call

Ross Barkley believes he is ready for an England call-up thanks to the guidance of Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri.

After a miserable 2017-18 campaign beset by injuries, Barkley has found his feet at Stamford Bridge, making nine appearances in all competitions for the Blues.

He is expected to start for the sixth time under Sarri in Thursday's Europa League clash with Vidi as the Premier League side look to make it two wins out of two in the competition.

And Barkley hopes to take to the pitch buoyed by a return to the England set-up, with Gareth Southgate set to name his latest squad earlier in the day.

"I believe I am [ready to play for England]," he told a media conference. "I have played a big role in the side and I feel like my performances have showed that I am back in that routine.

"Last season I obviously didn't play that much, but I knew that this season would be the chance for me to kick on and Sarri has given me the chance to play and I have played, and I hope that I have taken that chance.

"I have played a lot of minutes from the start of the season and I had a strong pre-season as well.

"I am feeling as fit as I have before. I feel [with] the amount of games I have played I am ready to be called-up."

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And Barkley credited Sarri for his improvements this season, suggesting the Italian would have helped him reach his potential sooner had they worked together earlier in his career.

"From a technical point of view, he has made me a better player," added the midfielder.

"We have done a lot of tactical work and his philosophy is suitable for my style. I feel as the season goes on that I will continue to improve.

"His attention to detail is really important for everyone to understand what he wants. In each game we go into, we go into it with a different approach, so he prepares for each game and each opponent really well.

"I’ve thought about it and I believe if I did have that type of approach from a coach when I was younger then maybe I would have improved a lot more."

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Sarri has been impressed with the 24-year-old and has backed him to make an impact with England, Barkley having not featured for the national team since May 2016 against Australia – although he was in the squad for the Lithuania game in March 2017, when he was still at Everton.

"I think so, because he is improving week by week," Sarri said when asked about Barkley's international chances.

"I think that he can improve more, because he has the potential to improve more. And so I think he can return to the national team."

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