Cape Town - Ross Barkley is optimistic that his
performances for Premier League high-fliers Chelsea this season will earn an
England recall when Gareth Southgate names his squad on Thursday.
thrived under new Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri and hopes to be named in
the England squad for Nations League matches with World Cup runners-up Croatia
and Spain later this month.
"I'm playing a big role in the
side at the minute and I believe my performances show I'm capable of being in
the England squad, hopefully," said the 24-year-old, who missed out on
England's World Cup squad.
Mateo Kovacic has been preferred to
Barkley in recent Premier League games, but the England midfielder started the
Europa League win at PAOK and the League Cup success at Liverpool.
"The amount of games I've
played, I'm ready to be called up," Barkley said. "I've just got to
do what I can for Chelsea and hopefully that will take care of itself with the
Southgate last month outlined his
desire for a creative midfielder in the mould of former star Paul Gascoigne, a
comment that might have attracted Barkley's attention given previous comparisons
between the two players.
Sarri said former Everton player
Barkley, who missed almost all of last season, was "improving week by
"I think that he can improve
more, because he has the potential to improve more," he added. "And so,
I think he can return to the national team."
Unlike Barkley, Chelsea teammate
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been part of the England set-up in recent months but has
remained on the fringes of first-team action at Stamford Bridge.
The midfielder could feature in the
starting line-up for the first time this season in Thursday's Europa League
match against Hungarian champions Vidi.
The 22-year-old has recovered from
a shin problem and is in line for a call-up while Spain winger Pedro has
recovered from a shoulder problem.
"I have to speak to Pedro.
He's doing better, like Loftus-Cheek. And so, I think tomorrow every player is
available," said Sarri. "I have to change five, six, seven players -
I don't know at the moment (how many)."
"Maybe tomorrow it's time to
see Loftus-Cheek, I think," the Italian manager said. "He was unlucky
in the last three weeks, after the national team (break). He had a problem. In
the last five, six days, he has been better, so I think he is able to play
Last season Loftus-Cheek enjoyed an
impressive loan spell at Crystal Palace and was rewarded with a place in
England's World Cup squad.
He has made just two substitute
appearances this season for Chelsea, but he retained his place in the England
squad and played an hour in the recent friendly against Switzerland.