(Reuters) - Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley says he feels “better than ever” after recovering from a long-term injury and is relishing the freedom to influence all areas of the pitch under new manager Maurizio Sarri.
The England international missed a majority of last season with a hamstring injury and made just four appearances for Chelsea across all competitions since moving to the London outfit from Everton in January.
“I arrived here with a long-term injury,” Barkley is quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph. “I didn’t play many games because of that... from the time that I joined in January, I have got my body feeling better than ever before.”
Barkley started the club’s pre-season matches against Perth Glory and Inter Milan and is relishing Sarri’s playing philosophy.
“The new manager obviously has a different style... There will be freedom because you have three men in the midfield,” he added.
“You can go forward, get close to the box, have shots, try to create but obviously we have to be disciplined and organised without the ball.”
Chelsea face Arsenal in a pre-season match in Dublin later on Wednesday followed by their Community Shield clash against Manchester City on Aug. 5 and a friendly against Olympique Lyonnais two days later.
The Stamford Bridge outfit kick off their league campaign against Huddersfield Town on Aug. 11.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge