Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley returned to the starting line up yesterday and scored a goal as well, helping his team beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Now he targets a regular role back in Frank Lampard’s first team after some significant time out on the sidelines with a frustrating injury.
Barkley, speaking to the Chelsea website has been describing the complications to his injury, that was not widely reported at the time.
“I haven’t played for a while because I had a setback after I injured my foot.
“I was in pain until only a couple of weeks ago but I put in a lot of hard work and I was grateful to get a start today, to get a goal and hopefully I can kick on from here and get back in the side.
“You want to be on the pitch but I had fine chips on two parts of bone in my foot so it was really painful.
“I was trying my hardest to pass the ball in training with my right foot but it was that painful that I had to train with my left foot and some days I had to come out of training completely.
“I couldn’t really kick the ball with my right foot so I just had to bide my time and keep working hard. For the last two or three weeks, I’ve been pain-free and I feel good.”
But the midfielder is now back to full fitness and feeling good. He is also dead set on getting back into the plans of Lampard and earning a regular starting place, especially ahead of this summer European Championships and being hopeful of an England place there.
Lampard has often chosen to use Mason Mount ahead of Barkley this season, so the more senior man has a lot to do if he wants to oust his fellow countryman. He also has the likes of Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante to attempt to push out the way.
“It’s just about continuing to work hard in training and with a goal today, maybe it puts that thought back in the manager’s mind.
“I’ve been putting in the extra yards after training, doing double sessions fitness-wise to just get on top of it and now I’m ready to get back in the side.
“I always stay positive in my mind because everyone has setbacks. No footballer likes being in the stands watching games, you want to be part of it and that means you’re frustrated but you have to take every chance you get like today.
“We won the game, kept a clean sheet and I got a goal so hopefully that helps me get back in the side.”