January 7, 2018

Conte Backs Barkley For World Cup  (Sky Sports)

Ross BarkleyAntonio Conte has revealed he wants to help new Chelsea signing Ross Barkley earn a place in England’s squad for the World Cup in Russia.

Barkley completed his move to Chelsea from Everton on Friday, for a fee that Sky sources understand to be £15m plus add-ons.

The 24-year-old has not played since May due to a hamstring injury but is nearing match fitness and Conte is hoping that the midfielder can make a rapid return to form in time for the summer tournament.

"We have five months to show he deserves a call with the national team for the World Cup," Conte said.

"I hope [he gets one], because it means he will do very well with us."

Barkley, who has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal at Chelsea, trained at the club's Cobham base on Saturday as he continues his recovery but Conte is reluctant to put a timescale on when he will be available for selection.

"It's important for me to see him, to understand his physical condition," Conte said.

"My hope is to have this player [available] very quickly."

The Chelsea boss praised Barkley's versatility but warned his new addition that he must adapt to the team's tactics.

Conte said: "He can play in midfield, if we play with three midfielders, or number 10 if we play 3-4-3,"

"Before playing we must be sure that he is into our idea of football. Otherwise, it's a problem for him and it's a problem for the rest of the team."

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