Ross Barkley says that he is ready to take up the responsibility as the 'main man' in light of Eden Hazard's departure.
The English midfielder claimed that Chelsea coped last season when the Belgian superstar was absent and insisted there is no reason why the Blues cannot move forward.
Barkley joined the Blues in January 2018 for just £15million from Everton in the hope of a return to the England team.
Since leaving Goodison Park for Stamford Bridge the 25-year-old has made 52 appearances for Chelsea with five goals and six assists.
Ready to step up
Hazard had been a monumental figure in the Chelsea team since he arrived ahead of the 2012/13 season, leaving a staggering gap to fill.
But the new Real Madrid ‘Galactico’ has departed, leaving Chelsea’s number eight confident that he is ready to fill the Belgian’s shoes at the Bridge.
“I’m ready to take the responsibility, of course," Barkley began. “Last season when Eden wasn’t playing, we still won games, still created chances.
“You have to fill in. Everyone in the squad understands that Eden was a great player, but he is gone.
“We have to replace his goals and create the chances. But we have that much quality in the squad we will all step up.
“We know he is an exceptional player, but we have other exceptional players. We have youngsters that will step up and produce the goods.
“We have Callum Hudson-Odoi coming back from injury and we have signed Christian Pulisic- 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.”
Cut from the same cloth
Over the course of pre-season many of the youngsters at Cobham have been provided the opportunity to work alongside Frank Lampard and Jody Morris in the first team.
Many have impressed and caught Barkley’s attention - Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham in particular.
He said: “The likes of Abraham and Mason have scored goals in pre-season and you can see the hunger in them.
“I was exactly the same. I went out on loan and then got my chance at Everton. When you get your chance, you have to be ready and believe that you are going to step forward and produce.
“When you have that extra bit of quality, you can see the belief in them. The players that are getting a chance now are really confident lads.
“They believe that they’re meant to be here. You can see that in the training sessions and the games. They will get opportunities during the season and show what they’re capable of.”
Life under Lampard
Barkley began his time working under Lampard with a first half cameo against St. Patrick’s Athletic as the Blues rose to a 4-0 victory.
The midfielder was keen to make an impression having started on the bench in Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to Kawasaki Frontale. Barkley found himself on the bench again against Barcelona, but scored upon being brought on in the second half.
He continued in the same vein as the Blues returned to England to face Reading. Barkley’s second goal of pre-season came in a 4-3 win at the Madejski.