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The resurgence of Ross Barkley at Luton Town

Ross Barkley was seen by many as a failed talent when he left Chelsea as a free agent in 2022, but now he's back at his best in the Premier League with Luton Town and is aiming for a place in the England squad for EURO 2024. Lets have a look into his incredible resurgence with Luton Town.

In January 2018, Ross Barkley was one of the hottest talents in England and he finally got his big move to Chelsea from Everton, where he had been setting the Premier League alight since the age of 17. His time at Chelsea was very underwhelming, only scoring 11 goals in 86 appearances. Despite winning the FA Cup and the Europa League, Barkley was not playing up to the standard he set at Everton and was failing to start games at Chelsea.

In search of regular game time, Barkley moved to Aston Villa on loan and had the best season of his post-Everton career, starting 18 games, scoring 3 goals and providing 1 assist, with a standout performance coming in the iconic 7-2 victory over Liverpool. Ross then stayed at Chelsea for the 2021/22 season, where he scored 1 goal, a 90th minute winner against Watford, and won the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup, adding to his FA Cup and Europa League medals.

After leaving Chelsea as free agent in the summer of 2022, Barkley moved abroad for the first time in his career, joining up with Nice in France. The French side finished 9th in the Ligue 1 table, with Barkley scoring 4 goals and claiming 2 assists. His time at the club was not one to be fond of as he only started 9 matches and left in the summer of 2023.

King of the Kenny

In August 2023, one of the biggest shock transfers of the Summer window occurred when Ross Barkley joined Luton Town. Many fans in England saw this as a sign of Barkley being a wasted talent and had ultimately written off his career, but little did anyone know that this move would turn out to be one of the best decisions in his 13-year professional career. His first appearance for Luton came in a 3-0 loss to his former club, Chelsea.

Ross made a steady start to his career at Luton but it wasn't until the game at Kenilworth Road against Liverpool that he let the country know the Ross Barkley of old is back. He controlled the midfield, winning the most tackles out of anyone on the pitch and having a 76% pass accuracy as well as completing 75% of his dribbles successfully.

In early December, Barkley netted his first goal for Luton against Arsenal. This was then followed up by another impressive performance against treble winners, Manchester City. Newcastle at home was next up for Ross Barkley and he was awarded man of the match, expertly flicking the ball to the back post for Townsend to finish. Sheffield United away saw Barkley produce another outstanding performance, completing the most dribbles and passes in the match. Barkley almost came back to haunt Chelsea, scoring a beauty of a header in a narrow 3-2 loss.

Barkley then dictated the 1-1 draw at Turf Moor against Burnley, but it was in a 4-0 win over Brighton where he really caught the eye, setting up Elijah Adebayo's second goal and creating the most chances in the match. The following match was away to Newcastle United at St James' Park; Barkley scored his third goal of the season as well as setting up Luton's fourth goal.

The highest of praise

Ross Barkley's efforts have not gone unnoticed; many pundits and ex-players have spoken out about his resurgence. Cesc Fabregas said "Every time he's on the ball, things happen for Luton, they're very blessed to have him."

His manager, Rob Edwards, has been full of praise for Ross all season, saying "we love him at Luton, he is playing really really well."

His midfield partner, Sambi Lokonga, stated that "it is a pleasure to play with him because I know he can trust me and I can trust him."

Although he has only been there for 6 months, many Luton Town fans have said Ross Barkley is one of the best players to ever play for them, listing him higher than club legends, Mick Harford and Ricky Hill. If that doesn't tell you how much Barkley means to Luton, nothing will.

The big question

The big question is, will Ross Barkley make Gareth Southgate's Euro squad?

Performances suggest that he certainly should be in contention, but he faces competition from Southgate regulars, Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips, as well as young midfield trio Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliot and Kobbie Mainoo who have all had impressive seasons at big six clubs.

Southgate is yet to watch Barkley in person this season, but with friendlies against Brazil and Belgium coming up in March, it could be the perfect opportunity to see the reborn midfielder in person.

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