Barkley returned to the England squad and played a key role in their memorable 3-2 Nations League victory against Spain last Monday and admitted it has “probably” been the best ten days of his career.
Gareth Southgate handed Barkley his first England cap in over two years as a reward for his form at Chelsea under new manager Maurizio Sarri, who has shown more faith in Barkley than Antonio Conte was ever willing to.
“Yeah I’d probably say so (the best ten days of my career),” said Barkley after scoring a 96th minute equaliser against Manchester United. “I got a couple of goals and couple of assists and played well for England. It just shows to myself that hard work does pay off in the end.
“Getting in the England side and getting in two good positive performances there and today with my first goal at Stamford Bridge was fantastic for me.
“I believe that I am a better player now. I’ve matured, I understand the game much more, which can be natural as you grow up.”
Barkley’s been a surprise star in Chelsea’s packed midfield and has impressed Sarri with his tactical understanding and dynamic style of play.
“I’m 24 now and I understand the game,” added Barkley. “I am at a big club now with a lot of expectation and fantastic players around me, and my performances are showing it.
“As the season goes on I’m playing against big teams. We have got a lot of competition in our squad and when you get your chance you have got to take it. I believe that that I am doing the right things.”
The 24-year-old also opened up on his less decorative arms and revealed that he has had his tattoos removed. Barkley got his first tattoo when he was just 14 years old and, in hindsight, believes that he was ‘stupid’ at the time, although does not rule out getting something else added in the future.
“I got them at a young age and sometimes when you are young you do stupid things and not think about it,” he said of his tattoos.
"But I went into it too quick and over the years I felt I wanted to get them removed, so I went through the process in the last couple of years.
“My first tattoo was when I was 14. I was a bit young, like. I was a big lad so they didn’t question my age at the time. Started getting them removed a couple of years ago. I would never rule out getting another, maybe when I have kids I might have something done to go with that.”
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