Ross Barkley`s road to recovery from what has been a very slow-to-heal hamstring injury was ramped up today. He took part in the development squads` game against Derby County up at St. George`s Park.
He started the game for Joe Edwards side, playing for 60 minutes before being replaced by George McEachran. We know that Antonio Conte is not one to rush players back into first team action following a spell on the sidelines. On that basis, it`s questionable as to whether the ex-Everton midfielder will actually achieve any real game time at Stamford Bridge after his January move with so few games left.
Next season though, Ruben Loftus-Cheek will return from his loan spell with Crystal Palace in better shape for a run in the senior squad. With Barkley there, whoever is in the hottest of hot-seats will have the luxury of a potentially much stronger midfield to pick from than Conte has had this time round.
Getting back to the game, Barkley played through his hour with no problems and will look to step up his progression further, back at Cobham.
? Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 31, 2018
Chelsea ran out 3-0 winners in the game thanks to a hat-trick from Daishawn Redan. Barkley had a couple of opportunities playing in an advanced midfield role, but was unable to take them. Moving forward, let`s hope Barkley is now able to put this nightmare injury behind him and start concentrating on playing rather than recovering.