Days after putting in one of the most complete performances of his life on the football pitch, Ross Barkley has credited how far he’s come this season to finally growing up.
The former Everton heartthrob has endured a torrid last few years as his star first fell on Merseyside before his antics in successive transfer windows sealed his fate as a pariah at Goodison Park.
However he has featured prominently in Maurizio Sarri’s midfield rotation this season at Chelsea and scored twice and assisted in another for England in their win over minnows Montenegro during this international break.
Speaking to the media, Barkley admitted his resurgence was due to him maturing after moving away from Merseyside.
”I am away from my family and down in London by myself. I am in a totally different environment from Liverpool. I miss being with my family, it is totally different.
”It is how I am maturing as a person and a player. It is good. Since I made the move it was good to challenge myself and win trophies and to improve as a player.
”I’ve changed compared to when I was 18, 19 or 20. My diet is much better. My approach to games is much better and I am going into them with the right preparation and I am more relaxed, rather than think about things too much.”
From his comments it appears the player isn’t partying as frequently as he did when still at Everton, finding himself in trouble and getting into fights in downtown Liverpool.
Also, it looks it took the realization he was flushing his career down the drain for him to sort out things that most football players realize the day they sign their first professional contract, i.e act like professionals, watch their diets, work out and prepare for the season.
Better late than never Everton fans will muse, but in reality Barkley never deserved the adulation with which the supporters treated him. That much became quite clear with the transfer fiasco to Chelsea which ended up costing Everton millions of pounds in transfer fees.
For all the lip service he paid the club about being a born Blue, if he couldn’t be bothered to act like a professional for the club that he was a boyhood fan of, then he certainly is not a Toffee through and through, as the line goes.