Sarri: Risking it with Ross and Ruben

There is every chance Ross Barkley will play against Everton, his former club, on Sunday.

The 24-year-old has been in sparkling form of late, the best he has played since leaving the Merseysiders in January, and his new manager, Maurizio Sarri is clearly a fan.

‘I like him very much because he is a complete player,’ explains the Italian. ‘He has physical qualities because he is fast, has resistance, and technically he is very good. He has a good kick with the left and the right foot. He is improving in moving the ball, quicker mentally, and he is improving tactically, so I think he is on the way to becoming a very important midfielder.’

Barkley has recently earned a recall to the England set-up and he was joined in the latest squad announced this week by Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Sarri selected them both along with Jorginho in his midfield for the midweek win away at BATE Borisov, despite not considering it a natural combination.

‘I think that Ross played a good game but we risked it because in the midfield played at the same moment Loftus-Cheek and Barkley, two very offensive midfielders so it is not easy for me and it is not very easy for them,’ Sarri explained.

‘Barkley I think for the moment from the tactical point of view is a step ahead of Loftus-Cheek, because Loftus-Cheek came later [to pre-season training] and in the first part of the season had two or three little injuries so I think it is normal. It was a risk [to play them both], but I wanted to see this situation.’

After the game on Thursday Sarri reported no injury concerns regarding the players he left in Cobham. He is hopeful Cesc Fabregas will have recovered from the illness that stopped him flying to Belarus, with the manager revealing he too had fever on the day of the game.