Frank Lampard has praised Ross Barkley for his "positive" and "confident" performance against Burnley.
Making his first Premier League start since October, the former Everton (opens in new tab) midfielder impressed in Saturday's 3-0 victory over Sean Dyche's side.
And Lampard has opened the door for continued first-team involvement by insisting he does not favour any other midfielder over Barkley.
“I speak a lot with Ross, I really like him and his character,” he said. “He came to me a couple of weeks ago and he said to me that he's just starting to feel good. It was a niggling injury and he's just starting to feel released from it.
“Today was the performance we want out of Ross, it was so positive. You saw his quality on the ball. He can hit the right-foot ball, left-foot ball, take the ball well. He looked confident today.
“That’s part of Ross’ game that you could question from the outside: how confident is he when things go against him?
“We know exactly what Ross can do. He is an England player, he is playing for Chelsea (opens in new tab) and deservedly so. He has given me a lot of thinking to do with that performance today.
“I do have my issues in terms of my selection here but I have no winners in terms of who I like more or less. 'He is a better bloke than that one' – no. It's what works for us. It's what’s good out on the pitch.
“Ross was a selection where people might have thought: ‘Oh, Ross and Mason Mount in midfield?’ - they both showed why they should be there today.
“It's not easy for the midfielders. I've had to have little difficult conversations with pretty much all of them at some point this season. That’s a good thing in terms of selection for me and trying to find the right balance.
“Different games require different things. If everyone is firing and pushing each other then it is not a problem. Ross coming in today and performing like that is a really good problem.”
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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).
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