Latest: Chelsea Star picks up hamstring injury, will miss Watford game, Conte blamed

Ross Barkley is set to miss Chelsea’s trip to Watford after suffering an injury that could prompt further questions over the club’s record of hamstring problems under head coach Antonio Conte.

It is feared Barkley may have suffered a hamstring injury in training this week, although the exact nature and severity of the 24-year-old’s problem has not been fully established.

There is currently no suggestion that Barkley’s injury is connected to the severe hamstring injury that prevented him from making his first appearance of the season until Jan 24 after joining Chelsea for £15 million from Everton.

But Barkley is being assessed by Chelsea medics and if it is confirmed he suffered a hamstring injury, then he will be the eighth victim of the campaign.

Andreas Christensen became the seventh Chelsea player to suffer a hamstring injury during the shock midweek defeat to Bournemouth, following on from Alvaro Morata, Victor Moses, N’Golo Kante, Gary Cahill, Cesc Fabregas and Willian.

Willian is due to return from his hamstring injury against Watford, but Conte is facing increasing scrutiny over the management of his players’ fitness.

Conte would, with some justification, argue that Chelsea’s injuries are a direct result of trying to cope with an increased fixture list with a limited first-team squad.

But critics of the Italian claim he has not adapted his tough training sessions enough to allow for the amount of games his players are involved in.

Barkley’s start against Bournemouth was his first of the season and the midfielder completed 54 minutes before being replaced by Fabregas.

Despite playing for almost an hour, Barkley was among the players summoned to train the day after the Bournemouth defeat and is now waiting to find out what his injury is and how long he will be out for.

There had been some surprise within the Chelsea squad at how quickly Conte had fast-tracked Barkley into his team because of his good performances in training, given how long he had been out.

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