After making some strange comments about the first time he was 'forced' by circumstances to use Ross Barkley as a substitute in last week's Caraboa Cup semi-final, the Chelsea Manager Antonio Conte has provided some new observations about his new acquisition and how he is going to fit in with the wealth of great players at Stamford Bridge.

Now Conte has revealed exactly what worries him about Barkley. And, according to the Mirror Online, it's not the midfielder's physical state that concerns him.

"I thought I'd find a player who was not in good physical condition," said the Chelsea boss. "Instead, I was surprised to find a player in good physical condition.

"My worry is not about his physical condition, but only to go into our idea of football, to understand the movement without the ball and with the ball. For this, he needs a bit of period to go into our idea of football. To understand this.

"My worry is not about his physical condition, but to get into our idea of football."

He added: "In every game when you decide to play for a great team, in every game you are in contention with other players.

"The time is right to find a place in the World Cup (squad), but for sure it won’t be easy because, in the England squad, they are very strong."

Reader Comments (38)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Mike Corcoran
1 Posted 31/01/2018 at 11:21:19
So Conte has just cottoned on that Barkley is not very with it???

Didn't take long...

James Marshall
2 Posted 31/01/2018 at 11:39:19

I suspect that Ross struggles to dress himself as well as undress himself!

Luckily I think you can get football boots that don't require laces these days.

Winston Williamson
3 Posted 31/01/2018 at 11:43:11
Mike: that's funny! Barkley struggling to get the message to 'derobe'! Hhilarious!

Conte getting on to the fact that Barkley doesn't understand what to do when not in possession??

At least they got a 㿀mil discount on him!!!

Tommy Meehan
4 Posted 31/01/2018 at 12:43:57

Apparently: "Conte ordered Barkley to disrobe about ten times before the order finally clicked"

After which, Conte could be heard screaming: "Not me! Idiota!! Yourself!!!

Si Cooper
5 Posted 31/01/2018 at 17:01:34
Is there anything in the video where Conte says those things in the report? Anybody know anything about the journo, Thomas Brewster? You could just as easily interpret Conte's comments as ‘Because the lad has turned up physically fit enough, the only thing we have to worry about is how long it takes for him to understand how we want him to play.' There is nothing that can only be taken along the lines of ‘he's slow on the up take' or ‘he's miles off where he should be'.

Just another case of confirmation bias if you think you can lock down the meaning behind those statements without context, like Conte showing a great deal of frustration as he says it.

I'd be more surprised if Conte had said there's nothing more we can teach him or he's ready now, because that would suggest he didn't have any expectation of getting anymore out of him than Everton could.

Stan Schofield
6 Posted 01/02/2018 at 12:48:38
There seems to be an obsession about questioning Ross Barkley's intellect. It's not just an obsession, but also an irony when the questioning is done by people who fail to comprehend what is written in front of their eyes.
Alan J Thompson
7 Posted 01/02/2018 at 14:31:21
Forced to play someone he has just bought, and we thought we had a problem with Klaassen.
Michael Kenrick
8 Posted 01/02/2018 at 14:40:58
I see that he played 54 mins in Chelsea's ignominious home defeat to Premier League minnows, AFCB. Any feedback on how he performed? Or should I just not care anymore???
Peter Gorman
9 Posted 01/02/2018 at 14:44:16
Personally I stopped caring a long time ago, Michael, but I get why others still do.

The only feedback I know is from media outlets and it was largely summarised as 'anonymous'.

John McFarlane
10 Posted 01/02/2018 at 15:57:04
I don't understand the need to slate any player who decides, for whatever reason, to try his luck with another club. It didn't work out for him at Goodison, he is no longer our concern, and I wish him the best of luck. However, he may find as Jack Rodwell, and Franny Jeffers did before him, that the grass isn't always greener. But I suppose the money softens the blow.

I will say that Ross Barkley was the most frustrating player I've seen in a blue shirt; having been going to Goodison since 1948, I've seen one or two.

I confess that I was surprised that Spurs and Chelsea – both what I term as passing clubs – would take a player whose decision-making is at best dubious.

I found from my seat in the Park End, that he would shoot when a pass was a better option, and that he would pass when a shot on goal was the right thing to do; all this after his obligatory three-point turn to get the ball under control.

Back to my original observation, 'The king is dead, long live the king'.

Michael Kenrick
11 Posted 01/02/2018 at 16:07:22
I think that's part of the (perhaps morbid) fascination here, John: how will that hugely frustrating player perform for what is presumably a far better "passing" side?

It may take time to see whether he throws off the shackles that have so constricted his play since his first full season in the Everton first team... Or he is permanently damaged and that wonderfully precocious powerpack of potential is gone forever.

Martin Nicholls
12 Posted 01/02/2018 at 16:08:56
Funny how he wasn't fit enough to kick a ball for us but is physically ready as soon as he reaches his favoured destination.
Michael Kenrick
13 Posted 01/02/2018 at 16:24:43
I'm not sure that's entirely fair, Martin. He was regaining full fitness during December after a long layoff following massive surgery on his hamstring – did you see that photo of the operation scar???

I think he was fit to play for us but Allardyce (quite rightly IMO) would have not been interested once he established Barkley wanted out and was not for turning.

Jay Harris
14 Posted 01/02/2018 at 16:30:51
Barkley is very gifted in terms of physique and technical ability in both feet but what he appears to lack is a football brain and that has been identified by 4 or 5 managers now so there must be something in it.

For me personally, I can't forgive Barkley for screwing EFC out of 㿀M while taking wages and the best medical treatment money can buy knowing all along his destination once he was fit.

Stan Schofield
15 Posted 01/02/2018 at 21:09:59
Jay, those managers wouldn't be mediocre ones by any chance?
Eddie Dunn
16 Posted 01/02/2018 at 21:18:41
Chelsea were losing 0-1 when Barkley was subbed. Then with a player of the calibre of Fabregas they went on to lose 0-3.

In fairness to Ross, the Chelsea side were a little unsettled by all of the transfer happenings and played without a recognised striker.

I suggest that it is far too early for schadenfreude .

Dave Williams
17 Posted 01/02/2018 at 21:18:53
Jay, you are clearly a man of some principles but there's an awful lot of folk out there who would see what he did as a great way to make money and have no qualms about it being at the expense of what would then be a former employer.

That said I'm not defending him and it leaves a bad taste but for whatever reason he seemed to turn against the club quite quickly and I would love to know why.

His promise was a result of him being twice the size of opponents in youth football and he found it harder when faced with grown men who would intimidate him.

Bags of skill but not clever with it – if only he had had Bally's football brain – what a player he would then be!

John Pierce
18 Posted 01/02/2018 at 21:29:44
The test is in 10 years time will Ross be remembered at Everton other than a name check?

Whatever you think of him, his skills and decision making I think his performances on the field won't warrant fondness that players of a similar vintage enjoy.

Baines, Hibbert, Cahill all less capable than Ross but gave far more on the field and were more effective too.

Stan Schofield
19 Posted 01/02/2018 at 21:52:51
A measure of how good a player is, is surely how much folks talk about him. Looking back on the large numbers of posts on the large number of threads when Barkley was here, he must be one hell of a player.

If I were an outsider looking in, knowing nothing about Barkley except that he'd just been signed by one of the best clubs in the country, and saw the continued discussion of him on ToffeeWeb even though he's no longer an Everton player, I'd think, this guy must really have something special about him. I might also think that some Evertonians were a tad bitter that he's gone.

Brian Porter
20 Posted 02/02/2018 at 07:12:16
Michael (#8), a friend of mine who is sadly a Chelsea fan (God knows how a lad from Workington ends up following them), was at the game v Bournemouth. His opinion was that Barkley was anonymous and totally ineffective and that he "stunk the place out."

My friend can't understand why Chelsea bought him. He was slow and ponderous and, surprise, surprise, seemed to hesitate on the ball, unsure whether to pass or take on the defender.

He reckons it won't be long before Conte deems him not good enough and relegates him to the bench, where he will likely stay until the end of the season. I don't think we've lost anything special with Ross's departure.

Chris Leyland
21 Posted 02/02/2018 at 07:53:20
Stan by your yard stick of “A measure of how good a player is, is surely how much folks talk about him”, then, reading ToffeeWeb, that Cuco Martina must be one hell of a player.
Alan McGuffog
22 Posted 02/02/2018 at 08:07:47
Brian .except, sadly, £20 million
Stan Schofield
23 Posted 02/02/2018 at 09:01:36
Chris, according to ToffeeWeb, Martina IS one hell of a (shite) player. No lack of consensus there.

But let's face it, the likes of Martina has nowhere near the coverage (and absence of consensus) that Barkley has (and that Stones and Lukaku had). Three players who went to the three elite sides in the country.

Mark Hughes
24 Posted 02/02/2018 at 09:26:16
Barkley, Rodwell, Gosling (who went to Newcastle) -– Leave Everton and your careers bite the dust!
Jerome Shields
25 Posted 02/02/2018 at 10:31:08
If a club has a strong ethos and way of playing it is expected that any player joining, buys into that ethos (think Chelsea) straight away. The problem at Everton is that there is a strong ethos and way of playing, but a lot of the players didn't buy into it and the Management weren't aware of its importance. Allardyce is mucking about with the ethos.

In Barkley's case, his weakness was he never bought into Everton's ethos and it showed when he played. For Conte, ethos and a way of playing are everything. Barkley will be getting this wall to wall with Conte because he eats, drinks and sleeps it.

The fact that Conte is a bit frustrated with Barkley should make Barkley glad he cost 㿀 million less, because Conte was prepared to take a risk on him. But Conte will want Barkley to come up to speed real fast.

Stan Schofield
26 Posted 02/02/2018 at 16:38:03
Jerome, what is Everton's ethos?

When I was a lad, in the 60s and 70s, for me Everton was about style as well as winning. Great football, the symbol probably Coiln Harvey. Plus fair play, but hard as well, the symbol probably Brian Labone. Plus galvanising your team mates, the symbols probably Alan Ball and (later) Peter Reid.

What on earth is the ethos these days? The style of play has fluctuated wildly over the last few years, as well as the commitment of some players. Barkley has played through all of that, and I don't think he can be accused of not giving commitment on the pitch (you could argue he tried too hard at times). So in what way did he not get our ethos?

Regarding Chelsea, it's early days, they've just had an unusual defeat, let's see how things go before jumping to conclusions about how Barkley is or isn't fitting in. As someone said above, it's a bit soon for Schadenfreude.

Kevin Naylor
27 Posted 02/02/2018 at 21:36:26
I wouldnt want to lay more than 6/4 he's back here within 18 months.
Jerome Shields
28 Posted 02/02/2018 at 21:56:01
Stan (26) Of all the clubs in the Premiership Everton are the most tradition English playing Football Club. There ethos was a tight defence combined with good offensive play supported by the left and right backs getting forward in support and a relentless attacking forward line from deep, characterised by Strong Centre forward. They where at there best when every players on the team bought into this. So strong is ethos that long suffering Everton supporters can identify weaknesses in the Everton team against this template. The best exponent of it was Howard Kendall, but previous Successful teams Everton showed these Characteristics. Bringing it up to date Moyes never was able to get there. Martinez had a ethos, but it was flawed. He was successful for while because probably reignited the Everton ethos. The ethos binds the team and even when not in possession a player is contributing by awarness, movement and support. Barkley never was encouraged or even told about a ethos from the Managers he was under. Conte is successful because he has a ethos and style of play and can get it across to players. He will work on Barkley and he will turnout to be a cheap addition to Chelsea. Conte has identified Barkley weakness and will address it. Allardyce is a million miles away from the Everton ethos. I have supported Everton since the sixties, still sickened by Tony Browns goal.
Don Alexander
29 Posted 02/02/2018 at 22:24:10
Regardless of his real-life IQ I always had the feeling Barkley was sadly deficient in footballing savvy. I also think he actively shirked physical contact from or towards opponents. The fact that every manager he's had cannot get the tune they want from him speaks volumes, and whatever their mediocrity they were as good as it gets unless you're playing for a top six manager.

The only way to achieve that is to play well at a club of our status and hope your agent can persuade a "top six" to sign you on. Lukaku's did this, but after a bright start he's adding up to a Mourinho mistake in the last few months. Stones did it too, but he's shown himself to be disturbingly flaky on
more than one occasion and since they signed the lad from Iberia last week his days may rightly be numbered in the City first team, and now Barkley's done it but he's seemingly way off even being considered a regular and, if I had a squad like Chelsea's, I'd be of precisely the same opinion as Conte's when it comes to Ross Barkley.

Regardless (again) of these want-aways I just wonder why our three most recent "stars" are all so lacking in the vital department of "psychology", and by that I allude to an in-bred "knives to a gun-fight" complacency that still seems to stink all round FF. Couldn't be the plethora of BK appointees who always populate the place could it, and him?

Dick Fearon
30 Posted 03/02/2018 at 07:21:09
Jerome @28, Did you mean Sandy Browns fantastic header into our own net?
Stan Schofield
32 Posted 03/02/2018 at 11:15:39
Dick, if it is that goal, we didn't play well in that game anyway, and looked like losing regardless. But we got them back 2-0 at Anfield, and of course won the league as well. Thing about Sandy Brown was, he was great at stepping in at virtually any position, and generally solid as a rock to add to his versatility.
Jerome Shields
33 Posted 04/02/2018 at 09:06:31
Tony Brown (Bomber Brown) West Brom 1968 FA Cup Final.

Look him up on Wikipedia. Great Player.

Jerome Shields
34 Posted 04/02/2018 at 09:14:25
Dick (#30), Can't remember Sandy Brown's goal. Thank God.
Keith Monaghan
35 Posted 04/02/2018 at 15:30:31
It was obvious that Barkley wasn't Conte's choice: when asked about the signing, his reply was the club ask his opinion about potential signings identified by the recruitment team, he gives his opinion, and the club/recruitment team decide whether or not to sign the player.

It was always obvious that Barkley isn't good enough for a starting place from Chelsea's squad, and it will have to weaken considerably before he is.

Alan McGuffog
36 Posted 05/02/2018 at 17:42:51
God I wish we had a few Sandy Brown type players nowadays
Arild Andersen
37 Posted 11/02/2018 at 19:21:52
Barkley will come good. When he turns 32, after a patchy career, he'll go to Stalybridge Celtic on a free transfer and be instrumental in their unlikely promotion to Premier league, league cup win and fantastic Europe League adventure (heartbreak in the final vs Valencia).
Well. On the CM game on my phone on the metro to work at least.
Terry White
38 Posted 11/02/2018 at 19:27:55
Jerome (#28 and #33). Not sure where you are coming from regarding Tony Brown. He was indeed a fine player for WBA. But it was Jeff Astle that scored the goal to beat us in the '68 final, not
Tony Brown. So...?
Eddie Dunn
39 Posted 14/02/2018 at 18:31:27
Don (#29). Regarding Lukaku, he has been struggling to gel with his new teammate. Sanchez is the sort of player that sees runs, plays weighted passes and is looking to jink through with a one-two from a partner.

Rom's movement for this kind of play may be a bit too stiff. Ironically, I think he would have thrived with Walcott providing for him, just as he was developing a good understanding with Gerri.

It will be interesting to see if Lukaku and Sanchez can combine together

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

© ToffeeWeb