New Chelsea signing sent clear warning ahead of debut
Nigel Reo-Coker discusses Ross Barkley's transfer to Chelsea from Everton in the January window
Nigel Reo-Coker has warned Ross Barkley that he will need to prove his fitness on a long-term basis following his transfer to Chelsea.
The 24-year-old midfielder became the Blues’ first signing of the January transfer window when he joined the west London side from Everton at the start of the month.
Barkley has signed a five-and-a-half year contract with the west London side but is yet to make his debut for Antonio Conte’s side after only recently recovering from a serious hamstring injury.
Indeed, Barkley has not featured at all so far this season and will be eager to prove his fitness to his new manager.
The midfielder has been training hard at Chelsea’s Cobham base in recent weeks as the England international bids to try and quickly break into the first team at Stamford Bridge.
However, former West Ham United star Reo-Coker had a message of warning for the midfielder.
Speaking on Sky Sports News on Wednesday, Reo-Coker said: “He has to take his time to make sure he’s physically fit.
“It’s a new experience for him, a new start with a new club. But he has to take his time to make sure he gives a true account of himself and doesn’t have any more setbacks.
“He’s still a young player but he needs to be mature about the decision he makes and I think it’s a decision he needs to take carefully and with all parties involved.”
Barkley will be hoping to make his Premier League debut for Chelsea when the Blues take on Brighton and Hove Albion on the south coast on Saturday lunchtime.
The west London side are currently in fourth place in the Premier League table.