Ross Barkley is determined to work hard at Chelsea to keep his place in Gareth Southgate’s England side after returning to the international fold in Friday’s 0-0 Nations League draw with Croatia.
Barkley had not featured for England since 2016 after struggling for form and fitness in the latter stages of his time at Everton and early in his Chelsea career.
But the 24-year-old has played in all but one of the Blues’ Premier League matches under Maurizio Sarri and appears to have put those concerns behind him.
Asked whether Friday’s match felt like a second England debut, Barkley told Sky Sports: “No, because I’ve been here before, so I know what it’s like to play for England and how much it means to everyone and myself.
“Over the years I’ve worked hard and where I’m at right now, I feel fresh, I feel strong. I’m sure I’ll continue to get fitter and continue to improve.
“I’ll work hard at club level and hopefully that will take care of itself.”
The match was played behind closed doors as Croatia served their punishment for an incident in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy when a swastika was marked on the pitch.
“It was odd but we’ve played in situations like this before in our youth days,” added Barkley.
“I thought in the second half we had our fair share of chances and any other day I feel we would have come away with the three points and possibly won 3-0. I thought we should have been a bit more ruthless today.
“We had the best chances and I can’t remember them really having many chances other than a couple of shots from the edge of the box. It’s disappointing that we didn’t win the game.”