After once being described as the next big thing after breaking through at previous club Everton, injuries and fallouts saw Barkley’s progress halt.
His move to Chelsea FC in January for £15m meant that Barkley was forced to prove himself in an oversubscribed midfield this season.
Barkley has embraced the challenge and is going from strength to strength to the delight of his Chelsea FC manager.
Speaking at his post match news conference on Sunday about the England international’s improvement, Sarri said:
“I am very happy with him, and for him: for the goal, for the national team [call-up].
“He had a very serious injury in the last two seasons but now he is improving and the best will come.
“I said to him from the first day that he has great physical quality, great technical quality, but he had to improve from the tactical point of view.
“Now he has improved. I think potentially he is a great player.
“He has quality, very important qualities. He will become a very important player in England and for the England national team.”
After substitute appearances for Everton and loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds, Barkley first made a name for himself in the 2013-14 season, scoring seven times in 38 games with the Merseyside outfit.
He went on to become a key part of Everton’s team under former boss Roberto Martinez but fell out of favour with Martinez’s replacement Ronald Koeman over a contract dispute.
Coupled with injuries, Barkley’s once sparkling potential was gone, and he became a lost boy of English football, yet another player with great technical ability to lose the faith of both the business and the public due to a perceived lack of focus.
To many people’s surprise, Chelsea FC chose to bring him in, despite his underwheling performances in his final season or so at Goodison Park.
With the bolstering of Chelsea FC’s already packed midfield in the summer, even fewer foresaw success for Barkley under new boss Sarri.
However, he has forced himself into Sarri’s plans and back into the England national team as Gareth Southgate looks ahead to Euro 2020.
His goal and assist against Southampton was the crowning moment of what looks like a stunning return to form, and the formation of a pact of respect with his new supporters.
At present however, the threat of injury looms large; the reoccurrence of that which blighted him in previous years would see Barkley re-join the bottom of a midfield ladder packed with technically accomplished players on every rung.
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