Former Chelsea forward Joe Cole has backed Ross Barkley to become a key player at Stamford Bridge.
Barkley has endured a stop-start season in 2019/20, making 20 appearances in all competitions for Frank Lampard's side.
However, the former Everton midfielder had become a more important figure in the weeks before the Premier League was suspended until April 30 at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And Cole has backed Barkley to go on and win major trophies as a Chelsea player.
“Ross has improved. He's a top player. I’m a big fan of Ross Barkley. Always have been," he told the Daily Star.
“He’s been a bit less spoken about because of Jack Grealish and James Maddison and Mason Mount. But he’s done a terrific job at Chelsea.
“The last two games, against Liverpool and Everton, he was brilliant. Absolutely fantastic.
“I’ve always thought he was a top player and I think he’ll be at Chelsea for many, many years.
“Now the challenge for Ross is can he keep doing that, can he be that player who drives Chelsea on to win trophies, like his manager was? I think he can.
“I’m pleased if people can see similarities between him and me because I’m a big fan. I think I just developed at Chelsea.
“It wasn’t just Jose. He’s a fantastic manager. But I was playing with better players. More expectation. I grew into my body a bit. And winning trophies breeds confidence.
“I like everything about Ross. Technically, he’s spot on. The mental aspect of the game, he’s getting better and better. Tactically he is improving all the time.
“I just think he’s a top, top player for Chelsea and England. As football evolves, players like him are getting more and more valued. He’s a fantastic player."
Cole also praised his former team-mate Lampard, who has guided Chelsea to fourth place after 29 games of his debut campaign in the Stamford Bridge dugout.
“I can understand people didn’t think he had much experience at the start of the job but I was never in any doubt he’d be a top manager," he added.
“I think he’s a smart guy, Frank. There’s no doubt in my mind he will go on to be one of the best managers we’ve ever produced. He’s so driven.
“Chelsea must be absolutely buzzing at what he’s done for the club. The club’s cohesive, it’s working well. Systems are in place. They’re performing well.
“He’s blooded some young players and put some value on the bottom line of the club. I think he’s done a tremendous job.”
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