Ross Barkley has declared himself ‘hungry for goals’ as he continues his pre-season preparations under the management of the best midfield marksman of them all.
The England international netted a fabulous free-kick at Reading at the weekend to follow on from his goal against Barcelona, and spoke to this website a couple of weeks ago about working with Frank Lampard again having played alongside him for the national team.
Barkley in his latest update is continuing to feel the benefit.
‘There is a new manager and new formations,’ he begins. ‘You have to be adaptable to the different formations we are going to play and I am hungry for goals and have the desire to get into the box and at the minute, I have been playing a bit further forward to think like a striker, especially a no.10, and to help out defensively and work hard off the ball.
‘He [Lampard] will help out all the midfielders. He is a legend of the game and he is the highest scoring midfielder in Premier League history so we are going to take all he has to give us, his expertise and his playing past and we are going to take all of that on board.
‘He says to express yourself on the pitch, take risks, don’t be too safe, to shoot and to try to take chances, which I can do, and he has brought the work ethic he used to have as a player into the squad now he is a manager and we have been working really hard.’
Barkley welcomes the tactical freedom to play off the cuff on occasions, knowing he is at liberty to make the odd mistake if he takes risks at the right moments to do so, although he notes he has also added discipline to his game from working under previous managers.
It is about getting the balance right he adds, and that is especially the case as he and his attacking colleagues aim to make up for the big loss that is Eden Hazard this coming season.
‘We have to fill in, everyone in the squad understands that,’ Barkley says.
‘Eden was a great player but he is gone and he has new challenges now and we have to replace the goals and create chances, but I am sure we have that much quality in the squad to step up to the plate.
‘Last season when Eden was not playing we still won games, we still created chances, we know he is an exceptional player but we have exceptional players in the squad and we have young players who are going step up and produce the goods as well.
‘We have just signed Christian Pulisic and we have Callum coming back from injury and he is an exceptional talent, and we have wingers who create chances from tight positions. We have players who can shoot from distance and we have young strikers and experienced strikers hungry for goals.’
Barkley and his colleagues will next be in action in Austria on Wednesday evening. Click for info on watching the game in the UK and Ireland