Former England boss Steve McClaren tips Antonio Conte to make use of the club’s new signing

Chelsea new signing Ross Barkley will seamlessly slot into the midfield alongside Cesc Fabregas and N’Golo Kante, believes former Newcastle manager Steve McClaren. The Blues had been long-term admirers of the 24-year-old and were set to sign him back in the summer, only for Barkley to change his mind and reject the move as the summer transfer window drew to a conclusion.

But the Stamford Bridge club secured his signature in the first week of January, handing a five-and-a-half-year deal to the England international. After Barkley joined Antonio Conte’s side, McClaren then claimed that the move would help Barkley unlock his potential.

“I think it’s a great move for Chelsea and I think it’s a great move for him. I think sometimes when you are at your home club, you can be there too long and you have to learn the different levels of the game,” he was quoted by Sky Sports.

“Moving to Chelsea with [Antonio] Conte will bring a little bit of what he needs – discipline to be a top player – because he has the potential to be a real top player.

“I’ve [managed teams who have] played against him a couple of times and he’s been terrific and killed us on a couple of occasions. But he has been loose and undisciplined and he’ll get that [taken out] at Chelsea, which will take his game to a different level.”

Barkley will bolster Chelsea’s midfield options and add more creativity to the middle of the park for Antonio Conte. And McClaren is confident Barkley could provide the attacking thrust in midfield alongside Fabregas and Kante.

“Fabregas, Kante and Barkley. I think Barkley could be the runner, scoring goals. It could be a good midfield three,” the former England manager told Sky Sports (h/t The Sport Review).

Summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko has struggled since his move from AS Monaco, while Kante has blown hot and cold this season. Since signing for Chelsea from Leicester in the summer, Danny Drinkwater has found it difficult to break into Conte’s first-team plans, whereas Fabregas has been given an advanced role this season, where the Spaniard has excelled.

Barkley, having suffered a hamstring injury in August that required surgery, has not played yet this season, something he has been working hard to rectify as he returns to fitness.

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