Ross Barkley has set his sights on becoming a world-class midfielder, Chelsea’s new signing revealing he is “obsessed” with reaching the top level.
Barkley is yet to feature in any competition this season due to injury, with Chelsea paying a reported £15million to sign the England international from Everton this month.
The 24-year-old is in line to make his debut for the Premier League champions in their trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
And Barkley – who hit five league goals for the Toffees last season – believes making the switch to Stamford Bridge will be a positive step for his development.
“I am obsessed with improving,” Barkley told Sky Sports. “I want to get to a level where I am regarded as one of the best and coming to a club like Chelsea gives me the right platform to improve.
“I want to be regarded as a world-class midfielder. At the moment I have a lot of potential and a lot of world-class attributes and I want to showcase that at a massive club like Chelsea and win things and be regarded as a top-quality player.
“I have got to a level where I feel I needed to make the jump to Chelsea and push myself and get myself to a better level and playing with world-class players here is only going to help.
“I am ready to hit the ground running. The first half of the season dragged for me, I just wanted to kick a ball, but I am back fit and I am ready to go.”
Eden Hazard has been linked with a move away from Chelsea but Barkley believes the Belgium international is an example he can follow.
“You can’t put many players up there with Hazard,” Barkley said. “He is unbelievable, he is up there with the best in the world.
“I have been training here for a couple of weeks and you can see how sharp he is. I am not the same type of player but if I could get anywhere near his level now I would be made up.”
Barkley scored in a behind-closed-doors friendly against QPR this week, also providing an assist in a 70-minute appearance.
“It was a good run-out,” Barkley added. “I have settled in really well with all the lads.
“It was my first game for a while since I have been out injured and it felt good to get back out on to the pitch.
“I have had four full weeks of training now so I am feeling really fit. I feel really good and am ready to go.”