FRANK LAMPARD believes Ross Barkley can go from strength to strength at Chelsea – but he must apply himself properly.
Antonio Conte finally landed the 24-year-old from Everton last week, having missed out in the summer.
Barkley cost Chelsea £15m as they saw off competition from Tottenham to bring him to west London.
The attacking midfielder has a long way to go to emulate Lampard’s achievements in the iconic No.8 shirt at Stamford Bridge.
But club legend and all-time top scorer Lampard is excited by what he can offer the Blues in the future.
However, Barkley, who became disillusioned at Everton as he sought a new challenge, is warned he has hard work ahead of him.
“I think it’s a good signing,” Lampard exclusively told Starsport.
“I think for £15m in the current market, you’ve got a relatively young English player with lots of ability.
“I’ve trained with him and played with him and against Ross and think he’s got fantastic ability.
“Chelsea can be a great fix for him to go on and improve his game. For Ross it’s great, for Chelsea at £15m it’s a great buy.”
Barkley was not fit to feature in the Blues’ 0-0 draw at Norwich on Saturday in their FA Cup third round tie.
But with Barkley back in training after his extended spell on the sidelines with a hamstring tear, a debut is fast approaching.
Conte yesterday refused to put an exact date on when his first game could potentially be.
But when asked if the cup competitions are a chance for Barkley to showcase himself, BT Sport pundit Lampard added: “Yeah I think so, he’ll get his opportunities.
“It’s up to him to work hard and get them and if he does well at Chelsea I’m sure he’ll stay in the team.
Chelsea’s FA Cup third round replay against Championship opponents Norwich at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday may be an ideal target for Barkley, who will need to build up his match fitness.