Ross Barkley is yet to make an appearance for Chelsea this season.
Indeed the midfielder has only got as far as Thomas Tuchel’s substitute bench once this term – in the 3-0 victory over Aston Villa.
Typically he sat there unused watching on as his colleagues rode their luck all the way to another three points.
He lost his No.8 shirt to Mateo Kovacic and when he finally returns to the Blues’ team – assuming he ever does, it’ll be as No. 18.
The return of Villa, with whom he had an unsuccessful loan spell last season, for Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup clash, could provide the 27-year-old with the oxygen of first team football.
Certainly he doesn’t seem to have any hope of playing in any of Chelsea’s bigger games.
This is what Tuchel has said about him, last week revealing how they offered him to West Bromwich Albion in the last transfer window.
“He tried to go on loan again, to find a club, but it is not easy,” Tuchel is quoted in The Telegraph.
“The situation out there, the financial impact from corona to clubs abroad and clubs also within the country is huge. It’s not easy to find clubs who are able to invest.
“It’s hard to see people struggling and struggling with the situation. But the quality that Ross brings to the pitch could help a lot of clubs in Europe.
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“He (Barkley) accepts the situation that it was not an over-performance from him at Aston Villa, so he cannot demand that we rely on him as the top midfielder in the next season.
“Normally you expect – and this is not a secret – somebody to go on loan from Chelsea to Aston Villa that he is the main guy at Aston Villa and then he comes back and takes the next steps.
“This has not happened, so maybe there is a long way to go, but you never know. He has the ability, so let’s see. It’s never too late and I will give him the support that I can. We need to wait and have patience.
“I’m sure that he himself worries a lot about the situation. ‘How can it come so far that right now I’m like in between the chairs and don’t really know where I belong and what my role is?’
“All I say is that, for example, with him, and with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, I’m super happy. We had the in-house game here and the two did fantastic.
“They trained very, very well despite their personal situations, which is maybe sometimes not the nicest one to have as a competitor, as a boy who has dreams, high hopes and loves his sport.
“He does not have to love the situation, but he needs to accept it in a positive way. This is what I feel from him and, hopefully, he can keep this spirit up.”
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