Ross Barkley reckons his return to form this season coupled with a return to the England fold has justified his decision to leave Everton for Chelsea.

Barkley made a controversial switch to Stamford Bridge last January 2018 in a move criticised by his boyhood club’s supporters, who raised their doubts on whether the England midfielder would be able to continue his development at the west London club. Having overcome a difficult start at Chelsea, the 25-year-old has since established himself as a regular for Maurizio Sarri’s side, having already made 23 league appearances this term.

His much-improved displays has seen him make a return to the Three Lions squad, with Barkley scoring his first international goals since 2015 as Gareth Southgate’s side mauled Montenegro 5-1 on Monday. In a recent interview, the Blues midfielder revealed he feels his move away from Merseyside to London was more than justified.

Quizzed on whether he needed the move, the England international midfielder replied: “Yes, exactly.” “I am away from my family and down in London by myself. I am in a totally different environment from Liverpool. I miss being with my family, it is totally different. It is how I am maturing as a person and a player. It is good.

“Since I made the move it was good to challenge myself and win trophies and to improve as a player. I’ve changed compared to when I was 18, 19 or 20. My diet is much ­better. My ­approach to games is much better and I am going into them with the right ­preparation and I am more ­relaxed, rather than think about things too much.”

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Barkley started in England’s victory over Montenegro in a Euro 2020 qualification match, netting a brace while also adding an assist in a game the 25-year-old feels was his most impressive outing for the Three Lions yet.

“It was my best ­performance for England. I came up with the two goals and had a hand in a ­couple of the goals – but I felt I could have played better,” added Barkley.

“We can all improve. We are not in the game to accept where we are at. We have to ­improve at club level – and at ­international level there is a lot of room for ­improvement.”