Ross Barkley Wants To ‘Help Fill The Eden Hazard Void’ At Chelsea
Ross Barkley is adamant that he can step up and plug the Eden Hazard void left behind at Chelsea.
Belgian superstar Hazard, 28, completed his stunning move to Real Madrid this summer for an initial fee of £88.5m.
But Barkley, 25, said that he and his Blues teammates must work harder next season in the absence of the former Chelsea ace.
"You have to fill in," the ex-Everton midfielder said.
"Everyone in the squad understands that he was a great player, but he is gone. He has new challenges now and we have to replace his goals and create the chances.
"We have that much quality in the squad we will all step up to the plate."
Barkley has been in impressive form for Chelsea on their pre-season tour and is making sure Frank Lampard takes notice of him ahead of the new season.
The England international scored a superb 25-yard free-kick in his side's 4-3 victory over Reading on Sunday.
And the Chelsea player has already shown he is ready to be the No 1 free-kick taker for Lampard's side when he scored in the Blues' 2-1 win against Barcelona in Japan.
According to Barkley, Chelsea can rely on youthful talent like Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic to fire the club forward in the post-Hazard era.
"Last season when Eden wasn't playing we still won games, we still created chances. We know he is an exceptional player, but we have exceptional players in the squad," he explained.
"We have young ones that will step up and produce the goods as well. We have Callum [Hudson-Odoi] coming back from injury and we have signed Christian Pulisic -- he is an exceptional talent.
"We have wingers who can create from tight positions, players who can shoot from distance and strikers -- young and experienced -- who are hungry for goals."
Lampard, 41, was appointed Chelsea boss following Maurizio Sarri's departure to Juventus last month.
And Barkley has welcomed his return to the club and called the Blues legend one of his "idols as a kid."
He continued: "I was always watching Match of the Day as a kid; you always saw him every week scoring goals ... He's got all the respect from the players for the player he was and the person he is."
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