Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley insists he has learned a "big lesson" from off-field misdemeanours

Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley insists he is a "very professional player" after reflecting on two off-field incidents that have earned him unwanted headlines this season.

The Chelsea (opens in new tab) midfielder was reprimanded by manager Frank Lampard after getting into an argument with a driver in Liverpool in October.

The ex-Everton (opens in new tab) man reportedly spilled food in the taxi and was escorted to a cash machine by police officers after initially refusing to pay up.

Lampard also accused Barkley of a "lack of professionalism" after he was photographed topless in a Dubai nightclub in November.

And the England international, who returned to the Chelsea team after injury for Saturday's victory over Nottingham Forest, says he has learned from his mistakes.

“Yes, a big lesson," he said. "You have got to be aware of your surroundings when you let your hair down for any player out there. You have just got to be aware of what’s around you. It is just more about being with the right company and in private.

“When you play in the Premier League, you are a high-profile player, so it is about keeping low-key and switched on. When you are on holiday or away you need the right people around you. I have made that mistake and it won’t happen again but I am sure it will happen to young players in the future. We all make mistakes but it is about being aware.

"Back in the day players wouldn’t have to think about things like that but you can’t forget people want to make you look bad. I am a very professional player but that 10 seconds doesn’t make you look professional. That’s just the way football is now with phones. You have to adapt to the way things are now.

“Everyone makes mistakes. When you make mistakes, you have got to learn from them. I am 26 now and I understand when you make a mistake, learn from them and move on.

"He [Lampard] was really supportive. Lampard was one of the best players in the world and I am sure when he was a player he liked to let his hair down at the right times. He fully understands in his day that there was none of that. It is more that people want to make you look bad, but it is in my hands and other players’ hands to not be in that position.”

Barkley will hope to be involved when Chelsea return to Premier League action against Burnley (opens in new tab) this weekend.


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Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).