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Barkley backed by Wise to keep Chelsea spot and 'open people up'

Dennis Wise believes Ross Barkley has made the most of his opportunities under Maurzio Sarri, with the new man in charge at Stamford Bridge having started the midfielder in all seven of his games at the helm - including those in pre-season.

Barkley is hoping that his resurgence at Stamford Bridge will earn him a recall to the England squad, as he benefits from Antonio Conte's departure over the summer.

The 25-year-old was nursing a long-term thigh problem when he joined Chelsea in January and setbacks in his recovery limited him to just four games in the 2017-18 campaign.

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In fact, Barkley had not completed a single 90 minutes for over a year until he finally got through an entire match against Manchester City in the Community Shield.

Wise, who himself was a legendary midfielder at Chelsea, has been impressed with Barkley, but also warned that places remain up for grabs.

"There’s a big possibility and I think Ross Barkley can come into the fold here," Wise exclusively told Goal.

"He has been given an opportunity under Maurizio. When you have got a new manager coming in you look at things and think, ‘right okay there’s a level playing field there’.

"I am sure he has gone in and said that to them, that there is an opportunity for everyone. When Ross came in, he was never really played. You kind of felt, when you looked at the interview of Antonio, that he wasn’t the first choice option that he wanted at the time and I think that came across a little bit.

"I think he will get an opportunity under Maurizio because he will leave it a little bit open and he is capable. He is a talent. He has had a little bit of a bad spell but hopefully he has come through it and he has got ability. He is the type of player that can open people up. There’s places up for grabs and it is up to people to grab those places."

Barkley continues to face fierce competition for starting berths, with Mateo Kovacic having arrived on loan from Real Madrid late in the transfer window and Cesc Fabregas closing in on a return from injury.

Sarri's arrival in west London over the summer prompted Barkley to study Napoli as he seeks to thrive under a new Italian coach.

Wise was speaking at the 2018 FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards, celebrating grassroots heroes across England. Find out more: