Alan Shearer believes Ross Barkley understands the game more now under Maurizio Sarri while also claiming that playing with quality teammates has also helped the Chelsea midfielder.

Barkley produced a man-of-the-match performance in the Blues’ 3-0 victory away at Southampton, providing the assist for Chelsea’s second goal while also netting his first goal for the west London club in the process. The former Everton man repaid the faith put to him by Maurizio Sarri, who decided to start him ahead of Mateo Kovacic and Shearer, now working as a television pundit, reckons Barkley’s resurgence has come as a result of Sarri’s guidance.

“What’s always been the problem with Ross, besides having from serious injuries, is what’s his best position? Was it a holding midfield role, sitting in as the 10. The penny might have dropped with him also that he understands the game more now and what’s required of him to be successful in a successful team,” said England’s all-time leading goalscorer.

The Newcastle legend added that being surrounded by players with quality has also assisted in Barkley’s return to form and has set up the perfect environment for the 24-year-old to finally realise his potential. “It seems to be happening but he’s also playing with better players now. It’s no coincidence that he’s showing what people thought he had – he can pick his head up and pick a pass,” continued the former striker.

“Look at the players he’s playing with. Jorginho. Look at what [N’Golo] Kante did for some of the players at Leicester. He’s bound to shine now and also he looks a lot fitter now than he has done. He’s 24 years of age. He should start now to understand the game more.”

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Barkley has always targeted a return to the England setup and his starring role at the weekend justified Gareth Southgate’s decision to recall the 24-year-old to the Three Lions squad after an absence of more than a year – a decision which Shearer agreed with, highlighting Barkley’s playmaking ability, especially his capability of threading the final ball, as something that Southgate’s team needs at the moment.

“It’s right that he’s got the England call up again. We haven’t exactly been blessed in midfield with players who can get their head up and pick a pass,” concluded Shearer.