Ross Barkley has revealed he anticipates a hostile reception from travelling fans on Sunday when Chelsea face his boyhood club Everton at Stamford Bridge.
Barkley joined the Merseyside club’s youth ranks aged 11 before making his debut with the senior squad in 2010. After making more than 150 appearances for the Toffees, the midfielder swapped Liverpool for London last January in highly-controversial circumstances.
The start of last season saw Barkley enter the final year of his contract with Everton and flatly refused a new deal in a bid to force a move away from Goodison Park. With only six months left on his deal, the Toffees reluctantly sold their prized midfielder to Chelsea in a cut-price move and the 24-year-old admits his manner of departure from Everton may see a few whistles from the away support in the game this weekend.
Quizzed on what reception he would get from the Everton fans, Barkley answered: “I don’t think it will be the best. There might be a few who might say a few good things.
“I achieved my dream of playing for Everton, from a young age I always dreamed of scoring for Everton. In my living room I always used to tell my mum ‘one day I’ll score for Everton’ and when that happened it was unbelievable for me. I tried to achieve success there but sometimes these things happen in football.”
Nevertheless, the England midfielder added that he is delighted at the prospect of facing his former teammates and says that his familiarity with how they play will benefit him.
“I’m not nervous, I’m excited to play against my former club and team-mates – I understand how some of them play, so that could be an advantage for me,” continued the Blues midfielder. “On the day I might get a few nerves as it will feel a bit strange. I’m looking forward to catching up with some of the staff there who I used to get on really well with.”